Jonathan Papelbon makes it clear, again: He wants out of Philadelphia

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On the day he was named an All-Star for the sixth time Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon reiterated his desire to be traded to a contending team, telling Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com:

The front office knows where my heart is and where my mind is. And that’s to be with a contending ball club. The ball is in their court, so to speak. I think everybody knows where I’m at. I’ve always been straightforward that I want to go play for a contender and I’m not going to shy away from it. I feel like that’s my right and my prerogative to have that opportunity and, you know, it’s in their hands.

Of course, the Phillies likely would have traded Papelbon by now if other teams were interested in giving up a decent prospect and/or taking on the remainder of his $50 million contract. He’s owed about $6 million for the second half of this season and there’s a $13 million option for 2016 that vests if he reaches 48 games finished this season (he’s currently at 28).

Philadelphia certainly has no need for a high-priced closer at this point and Papelbon has been excellent this season with a 1.65 ERA and 34/7 K/BB ratio in 33 innings.

According to Salisbury the 34-year-old right-hander “hopes to be long gone” by the July 31 trade deadline and “hopes to be gone shortly after the All-Star break.”

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to minor-league deal

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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.