The Twins have reportedly agreed to a four-year, $49 million contract with Ricky Nolasco, but they aren’t done attempting to upgrade their starting rotation.
According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, the Twins are now likely to turn their attention to free agent right-hander Phil Hughes. George A. King III of the New York Post hears that Hughes is looking for a two-year contract, with the Twins, Angels, Mariners, and Royals among the potential landing spots. The Mets have been mentioned as a possibility, but they aren’t comfortable going beyond one year.
Hughes, 27, is coming off a rough year in which he posted a 5.19 ERA and 121/42 K/BB ratio over 145 2/3 innings. He has been really hurt by the home run ball at Yankee Stadium, so a move to a more pitcher-friendly environment could prove beneficial. Or that’s the hope, anyway.
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.