The Rangers have checked in with free agent Paul Maholm

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Free agent lefty Paul Maholm has drawn a lot less interest than expected, perhaps due to a rough second half of the 2013 season. Maholm, now 31 years old, finished with a 4.41 ERA after back-to-back sub-3.70 ERA seasons with the Pirates in 2011 and the Cubs and Braves in 2012. One would think it would be easy to make some room for him at the back of just about any starting rotation, yet he remains freely and cheaply available.

The Rangers, scrambling for a replacement for lefty Derek Holland after he suffered a knee injury which required surgery, have checked in Maholm recently, reports ESPN’s Jim Bowden. Previous reports have indicated that the Rangers prefer to stay in-house when it comes to replacing Holland, so this may be nothing more than tire-kicking.

Maholm was fantastic in the first half of 2013 for the Braves, posting a 3.69 ERA through the end of June. After three mediocre starts in July, Maholm missed a month on the disabled list with a sprained wrist. He was slightly better upon his return, but wound up missing more time in September with inflammation in his left elbow.

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.