Nationals owner Mark Lerner addresses ballpark roof proposal

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We heard back in December that the Nationals tried to sell Washington, D.C. mayor Vincent C. Gray on a $300 million publicly-funded retractable roof for their ballpark. The idea was quickly shot down. We haven’t heard much about it since, but Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner addressed the situation for the first time during Comcast SportsNet Washington’s broadcast of a Washington Wizards-Orlando Magic game last night.

Here’s part of what Lerner had to say on the topic, courtesy of Chase Hughes of CSNWashington.com:

“I don’t believe it’s gonna happen. We inquired, we’re always looking to do things that are unique. It was a way to have more events at Nationals Park, but it was just an idea. It was an idea we were throwing around in a room. It wasn’t that we specifically asked for it, we were just talking about it.”

You can see Lerner’s full interview in the video below:

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.