The Royals signed right-hander Brandon League to a minor league deal on Saturday, according to MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan. The 33-year-old is one of 22 non-roster invitees and was picked up along with fellow right-handers Al Alburquerque and Chris Withrow.
Of the three, League has the most obstacles to overcome in order to land a spot on the Royals’ roster this spring. He hasn’t pitched professionally since 2015, when he made 10 appearances for the Dodgers’ High-A and Triple-A affiliates while recovering from shoulder impingement. Prior to 2015, he played three years with the Dodgers at the major league level, sustaining a cumulative 3.55 ERA and 0.1 fWAR over 144 2/3 innings.
In a best-case scenario, League could provide the kind of production value he amassed during his last season with the Dodgers, complete with the career-best 2.57 ERA and 0.0 HR/9 rate. At worst, his age and chronic shoulder problems will force the Royals to turn to another veteran arm. At least for the time being, it looks like they have plenty to choose from.
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.