Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer checks in with an update on Carlos Santana’s progress trying to transition from catcher to third base and … well, it ain’t going perfectly:
Right now, Lonnie Chisenhall and every other third basemen in camp look better than Santana when it comes to defense.
No.1 Santana hasn’t gotten a lot of chances. No. 2 when he gotten a chance, he’s s looked stiff and uncomfortable. Maybe things will improve when he starts playing two or three games in a row.
Also of note is that Hoynes suggests the fallback plan for Santana if things don’t work at third base is to become the full-time designated hitter rather than moving back to catcher, where Yan Gomes has apparently cemented his status as the starter.
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.