A new manager in Lloyd McClendon and a new coaching staff to go with him in Seattle.
The Mariners announced the hiring of Howard Johnson as the new hitting coach, Rick Waits as pitching coach, Andy Van Slyke as first base coach, John Stearns as third base coach, Chris Woodward as infield coach and Mike Rojas as bullpen coach.
Which basically continues baseball’s coolest trend: coaching staffs which essentially track every pack of commons I opened from 1979-1984. But such is the way of aging and the world.
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.