Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports confirms Peter Gammons’ report that the Angels were interested in acquiring starter A.J. Burnett from the Phillies. The Angels wanted Burnett to waive his player option for 2015, currently worth $10 million and can reach $12.75 million with four more starts, ostensibly so that they can avoid the luxury tax.
Burnett is currently tied for the National League lead in losses with 14. He has a mediocre 4.30 ERA, leads the league in walks with 77, and has struck out only 157 batters in 178 innings.
However, the AL West-leading Angels lost Garrett Richards for the season after he tore the patellar tendon in his left knee a week and a half ago in Boston against the Red Sox. Pitching upgrades are hard to come by at this point in the season. Per Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Angels GM Jerry DiPoto doesn’t expect to make a move before the deadline.
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.