Johnny Cueto as a reliever would be interesing

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Johnny Cueto had a 3.33 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 41/14 K/BB ratio through 48 and two-thirds innings this season, but he’s been sidelined since June 28 with a strained lat muscle. He threw a bullpen session the other day which was described as “impressive” and looks poised to rejoin the Reds soon.

But he may do it as a reliever, speculates C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer. If he did he could do what Tim Lincecum did for last year’s Giants team in providing a solid and potentially dominant long man which would give his manager an option if one of his starters had a bad go of it.

I’d be curious to see if Dusty Baker would be willing to think outside of the box like that.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to minor-league deal

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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.