Veteran reliever Heath Bell was just given his release by the Rays earlier this week, but it looks like he won’t be out of work for long.
Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports that the Mariners and Orioles are among four teams with “serious interest” in Bell. The 36-year-old is expected to sign with a team within the next couple of days, likely on a minor league deal.
The Rays acquired Bell from the Diamondbacks over the winter as part of a three-team trade, but he got the boot after posting an ugly 7.27 ERA and 12/8 K/BB ratio over his first 17 1/3 innings this season. Tampa Bay is on the hook for $5.5 million of his $9 million salary this year. The Diamondbacks and Marlins are covering the rest. Yes, he’s getting checks from three different teams. You don’t see that very often.
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.