Kolten Wong’s demotion to the minors was a short one, as the Cardinals have recalled the rookie second baseman from Triple-A just two weeks after optioning him to Memphis.
Wong won the Opening Day job at second base only to be demoted after hitting .225 with zero homers and a .544 OPS in 20 games because the Cardinals decided to give veteran Mark Ellis the full-time job. However, after watching Ellis struggle they’ve decided to turn back to Wong, who was a 2011 first-round draft pick and consensus top-100 prospect heading into this year.
He earned the return to St. Louis by hitting .344 with two homers, five steals, and an .867 OPS in 15 games at Triple-A, although if 15 good games in the minors were enough to make the Cardinals forget about 20 bad games in the majors maybe they shouldn’t have demoted Wong in the first place. Presumably he’ll get a much longer leash this time and, if all goes according to plan, take over the position for the next decade or so in St. Louis.
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.