Twins have Jarrod Saltalamacchia on their radar

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Now in the mix for a catcher after moving Joe Mauer to first base, the Twins could pursue free agent Jarrod Saltalamacchia, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. He suggests Salty could fetch a three-year deal in the $30 million range, which is in the Twins’ affordability range. They currently have $46 million committed to six players after opening up the 2013 season at $86 million.

Saltalamacchia is coming off of his best season, a tremendous improvement over 2012. He increased his batting average and on-base percentage by about 50 points each, and some felt his defense took a step forward as well. As he turns 29 years old in May, signing him to a three-year pact wouldn’t be as much of a risk as the Yankees signing Brian McCann for five years, as an example.

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.