After an incredibly successful run as Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan took a leave of absence from the team in 2011 and eventually stepped down in 2012 due to the health of his wife, who passed away from cancer this year.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch the Diamondbacks have reached out to Duncan about potentially coming out of retirement to take over as their new pitching coach. Goold reports that Duncan is “open to a return to baseball” and “has fielded interest for a variety of roles.”
Duncan was Tony La Russa’s longtime right-hand man in Oakland and St. Louis, putting together a track record that stacks up with just about any pitching coach in baseball history, so he’d be a huge addition to any team.
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.