The Mariners announced on Thursday that the club claimed utilityman Andrew Romine off waivers from the Tigers.
Romine, 31, hit a measly .233/.289/.336 in 348 plate appearances for the Tigers this season. However, he played literally every position on the field. Of course, that was largely due to a concerted effort made in the second-to-last game of the season against the Twins.
Romine did provide legitimate versatility at second base (164 1/3 defensive innings), center field (179 1/3), third base (66), first base (65), left field (126 2/3), right field (76), and shortstop (74). He’ll be entering his third and final year of arbitration eligibility, so this is a short-term depth move for the Mariners.
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.