Reds shortstop Zack Cozart and Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ were both claimed on revocable waivers and blocked, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports. As a result, neither player can be traded through the end of the month. A player traded after August 31 is ineligible for his new team’s playoff roster.
As Heyman mentions, as good as Cozart has been, very few contenders have a need for a shortstop. This season, the 32-year-old has hit .309/.401/.555 with 17 home runs and 48 RBI in 404 plate appearances. Cozart is eligible for free agency after the season.
Happ, 34, has made 19 starts with a 4.10 ERA and a 108/34 K/BB ratio in 107 2/3 innings. The lefty is under contract for one more season at $13 million. If the Blue Jays don’t trade Happ in the offseason, he would become a likely trade candidate by next July 31.
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.