Brayan Pena signs with the Reds

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Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes reports that the Reds have signed catcher Brayan Pena to a two-year contract. The financials aren’t available and its all still pending a physical to be performed in Cincinnati on Tuesday, but other than that they got themselves a backup catcher.

Pena was with the Tigers last year where he hit .297/.315/.397 in 243 plate appearances. That was a bit better than his career numbers, but not totally out of whack. He’s been a backup his entire career, first with Atlanta and then Kansas City before his year in Detroit.

It’s hard to say what this means for current catchers Devin Mesoraco and Ryan Hanigan. But Hanigan is arbitration-eligible, so he may be the odd man out, clearing the job for Mesoraco after a year in which Hanigan got a bit more play than a backup catcher can usually expect despite being awful at the plate.

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.