Ubaldo Jimenez declines option with Indians, hits free agency

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Ubaldo Jimenez is no dummy. After seeing Tim Lincecum get $35 million, Jimenez said thanks but no thanks to the Indians after they exercised their half of the $8 million option for 2014, thereby becoming a free agent.

Jimenez had a nice bounce back year for the Indians. Going 13-9 with a 3.30 ERA in 32 starts. Whether that was a fluke or a return to form for Jimenez — who was putrid in 2012 and whose 2011 wasn’t anything close to his best years prior — is an interesting question. All of his rate stats and peripherals went in the right direction, so there is hope. But, yeah, it could have been a fluke.

Regardless, in this day and age pitching gets paid. And Jimenez stands to make way, way more than that $8 million the Indians were, in essence, offering him. They will no probably give him a qualifying offer of $14 million or so today and he will have to decide if he wants that.

My guess is he says “nope” and takes a multi-year deal. Because really, outside of the Masahiro Tanaka derby, Matt Garza and Ervin Santana, there isn’t a ton of pitching to be had on the free agent market.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to a 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.