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Report: Astros considering trade for J.T. Realmuto


J.T. Realmuto may get his wish after all. According to Craig Mish of MLB Network Radio, the Astros have engaged in trade talks for the Marlins catcher and are currently weighing an offer that involves top prospect Kyle Tucker. Mish estimates a 50% probability that the deal is pushed through before Opening Day.

Realmuto reportedly asked for a trade back in December, when the Marlins were jettisoning franchise players like Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna as part of a full-scale rebuild. There was no feasible way for the 26-year-old catcher to force his team’s hand, however, and he showed up to Marlins FanFest on Saturday “ready to play the season, whether it is in Miami or somewhere else.” No matter where he ends up in 2018, his future looks bright: he ranked fifth-best among all major league catchers on defense (per FanGraphs) and slashed .278/.332/.451 with 17 home runs and 5.2 fWAR in 579 PA for the Marlins.

If the trade goes through, the Marlins stand to receive the no. 17 overall prospect (and no. 5 outfield prospect) in the league. Outfielder Kyle Tucker, 21, has yet to make the jump to Triple-A, let alone the majors, but is considered a top talent with above-average speed and a decent arm for the outfield. He batted a respectable .265/.325/.512 with 16 home runs and eight stolen bases in 317 PA during his first run in Double-A Corpus Christi in 2017.

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.