Emilio Bonifacio was available to the Cubs on a minor-league deal after being released by the Royals in February and now five months later they’re going to get something in return for the 29-year-old speedster.
Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com reports that “all indications are the Cubs will trade Bonifacio” before this afternoon’s deadline and lists potential suitors as the Giants, Mariners, Reds, Orioles, and Royals (yes, the same Royals who released him in February).
As an impending free agent Bonifacio isn’t in the Cubs’ long-term plans and his defensive versatility and speed make him an attractive bench option for contenders. He’s not much of a hitter, though, batting .279 with a .692 OPS in 69 games this season and .264 with a .667 OPS for his career.
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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.