Ken Rosenthal reports that the Cardinals have signed right-hander Bud Norris to a one-year deal. Details are not yet known, as it’s still pending a physical.
Norris was good last year — he struck out 74 batters in 62 innings — though he faded late. He served as the Angels closer for much of last season before moving into various other roles. Those various other roles brought some controversy with them in that Norris would’ve earned a $500,000 bonus for 60 games out of the pen, only to pitch in relief in 57 games before making three late season starts. For his part, Norris took no issue with that, and his agent suggested that showing he could still start would help him once he hit free agency, but it was certainly notable.
How the Cardinals will use him is unclear at the moment, but Norris certainly gives them some flexibility.
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.