Max Scherzer open to extension, but won’t negotiate during season

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There’s been lots of speculation about the Tigers trading Max Scherzer before he hits free agency next offseason and he recently avoided arbitration by signing for $15.25 million in his final season of eligibility.

Today the reigning Cy Young winner told Jason Beck of MLB.com that he’s open to a contract extension with the Tigers and “hopes they can get something done by spring training.” Scherzer even called himself “optimistic” about reaching an agreement, but also added that he will not negotiate once the season begins.

Assuming that he stays healthy before hitting the open market at age 30 it’s hard to imagine Scherzer not approaching $150 million and it’s almost as hard to imagine agent Scott Boras not pushing him to at least test free agency even if he wants to remain in Detroit.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to a 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.