The Rangers and DH Mitch Moreland have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $2.65 million deal for the 2014 season, reports Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports adds that Moreland can get an additional $25,000 each for reaching 470 and 525 plate appearances. Moreland was eligible for arbitration for the first time in his career. He is eligible for free agency after the 2016 season.
With the acquisition of Prince Fielder in a trade with the Tigers back in November, Moreland has been pushed from first base into the DH role. He finished the 2013 season with 23 home runs and a .736 OPS in 518 trips to the plate.
ESPN’s Richard Durrett suggests manager Ron Washington could use the DH spot to get Fielder or third baseman Adrian Beltre off their feet from time to time, so Moreland may get the odd start at first base during the season.
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.