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Rockies continue extension talks with Carlos Gonzalez

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The Rockies are still working on an extension offer for Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado GM Jeff Bridich says (via ESPN’s Jim Bowden). The 31-year-old outfielder is one season away from polishing off the seven-year, $80.5 million contract he signed with the Rockies in 2011, but both sides appear amenable to working out a longer deal to keep him in Colorado.

Despite losing some of the power that fueled his 40-homer campaign in 2015, Gonzalez slashed an impressive .298/.350/.505 in 2016, racking up 25 home runs, 100 RBI and a career-best 42 doubles. The Rockies have plenty of options in the outfield corners, including Gerardo Parra, David Dahl, Raimel Tapia and Jordan Patterson, and while Gonzalez remains one of the most potent left-handed bats in the lineup (among many lefties), his trade value could supersede his potential contributions on the field.

Extension rumors surfaced as early as November, but the club’s initial suggestions were thought to be well under Gonzalez’s asking price. Should the two sides find themselves unable to cross that chasm, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman thinks it’s likely that the team will push for a midseason trade before the outfielder hits free agency in 2017.

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.