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Report: Indians may not retain Bryan Shaw in 2018

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Right-handed reliever Bryan Shaw is not expected to return to the Indians in 2018, writes Paul Hoynes of Cleveland.com. The problem isn’t with Shaw’s performance, but with his price tag, as Hoynes projects the righty to command upwards of a three-year, $24 million deal in free agency.

Shaw, 29, has been the picture of health and consistency for the Indians since 2013. He made 79 appearances in 2017, tied with the Royals’ Peter Moylan for most in the league, and developed a 3.52 ERA, 2.6 BB/9 and 8.6 SO/9 over 76 2/3 innings. Not only did he manage to stay off the disabled list, a place he’s never found himself during seven years in the majors, but he returned in October to help the Indians battle through a tough matchup in the ALDS. The team was ultimately overpowered by the Yankees in Game 5, but Shaw shined on the mound, striking out five batters over six innings of four-hit, one-run ball.

It’s expensive to retain the second-best bullpen in baseball, and the Indians know it. As Hoynes notes, Cody Allen and Andrew Miller alone will claim $20 million in 2018. Bringing that total up to $28 million for three relievers isn’t feasible, at least not for the foreseeable future. Despite their financial limitations, however, the team realizes what a special talent they have with Shaw — and the feeling appears to be mutual. “He is so reliable,” manager Terry Francona told reporters Wednesday. “And if he’s not in our bullpen, it will probably take two guys to do what he did. It’s amazing.”

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.