Shortly after adding a right-handed bat in Michael Morse the Orioles have added a left-handed bat in Dan Johnson, signing the veteran first baseman to a minor-league deal after he opted out of a deal with the Yankees.
Johnson has spent all season playing at Triple-A for the Yankees, hitting .253 with 21 homers and an .826 OPS in 133 games. Morse’s arrival hurts Johnson’s odds of being more than a pinch-hitter down the stretch, but he’s certainly provided some memorable late-season memories in a limited role before.
Against the Yankees, in fact.
The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.
Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.
Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.