Feb. 24th: The Twins have announced the signing.
Feb. 23rd: The Twins have agreed to a minor-league deal with infielder Erick Aybar, according to LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune. The contract includes a MLB invite. Aybar’s potential salary is $1.25MM and there are some plate appearance-based incentives, too, per Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (Twitter link). The deal also includes an opt-out opportunity on March 27th.
Aybar signed on with the Padres last year in hopes of rebounding from a pair of tough seasons, but ended up struggling in San Diego. Over 370 plate appearances, Aybar slashed just .234/.300/.348 over 370 plate appearances and continued to post sub-par metrics at shortstop. The 34-year-old switch-hitter also missed time with a foot fracture.
Minnesota won’t be handing its regular shortstop job over to Aybar, of course, but it could allow him to compete for a bench spot. Ehire Adrianza currently seems like the favorite to function as a utility infielder, but Aybar will now join Gregorio Petit and Taylor Featherston as potential non-roster options in camp.
It has now been some time since Aybar was a quality regular, but he certainly was that and more earlier in his career with the Angels. In addition to being a quality defender, Aybar was a league-average hitter from 2009 through 2014.