MLB.com’s Bill Ladson reports that the Nationals have acquired infielder Brandon Laird, brother of Braves catcher Gerald, from the Royals. It is not yet known what or who the Nationals sent to the Royals in return.
Laird, 26, was taken in the 27th round of the 2007 draft by the Yankees. In September 2012, the Astros acquired him off of waivers. Last November, Laird signed with the Royals as a free agent. He has a career .626 OPS in 138 plate appearances at the Major League level, splitting his time nearly equally between first and third base.
Laird isn’t anything special in the batting average or on-base departments, but he does have a bit of pop in his bat. In 2010 with the Yankees, he slugged 22 home runs with Double-A Trenton at the age of 22 and he has hit 16, 15, and 16 homers in the three seasons since at the Triple-A level.
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.