The Toronto Blue Jays have designated outfielder Nori Aoki for assignment.
Toronto acquired the Aoki from the Astros at the trade deadline as part of the Francisco Liriano deal. He hasn’t played much for the Blue Jays, but he has played decently, going 9-for-32 with three homers in 34 plate appearances in 12 games, only seven of which were starts. Yesterday he went 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBI. Just not in the Jays’ plans, it seems. For the whole season he’s hitting .274/.319/.402.
He is making $5.5 million this year on a one-year deal he signed with the Astros to avoid arbitration. He’s 35, and could likely still prove useful for some team, though perhaps more as outfield depth as opposed to serving in a starting role.
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.