Veteran catcher John Buck was given his release by the Mariners earlier this month, but he didn’t stay out of a job for long. Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com brings word that the Angels have signed Buck to a minor league contract. He has been assigned to Triple-A Salt Lake.
Used sparingly during his time in Seattle, Buck hit just .226 (19-for-84) with one home run and a .579 OPS in 27 games before being cut loose. The 34-year-old backstop batted .228/.288/.365 with 15 home runs and 62 RBI last season between the Mets and Pirates.
The Angels have Chris Iannetta and Hank Conger in place, so there’s no immediate need for Buck at the major league level, but there’s a pretty decent chance he could come up in September as a third catcher.
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.