The Brewers have signed catcher Christian Bethancourt to a minor league contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training.
You may recall that Bethancourt’s old team, the Padres, tried to convert him into a pitcher with an eye toward using him as a two-way player. Made some sense in that the dude hit 96 on the gun in some one-off mop-up appearances. The experiment never took, however, as he posted a 8.21 ERA at Triple-A and walked everyone within shouting distance across 41.2 innings of work. His bat has never been good at the big league level — he’s a career.222/.252/.316 hitter in 489 plate appearances — but that’s better than his pitching was.
So it’s back to catching for Bethancourt, who will serve as organizational depth for Milwaukee.
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.