Shortstop Erick Aybar is no longer in the Twins’ spring camp, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports (Twitter link), thus indicating that the veteran has decided to opt out of his minor league contract with the team. Today was Aybar’s opt-out date for his deal, and the infielder was told yesterday that he wouldn’t be making Minnesota’s Opening Day roster.
Rather than accept an assignment to the Twins’ Triple-A team, Aybar will now again test free agent waters to see if he can find a job with another team. The 34-year-old hasn’t provided much at the plate over the last three seasons (as a member of the Angels, Tigers, Braves, and Padres), and also posted just a .636 OPS for the Twins over 33 Spring Training plate appearances. His once-solid glovework has also been on the decline, with below-average UZR/150 and Defensive Runs Saved totals since 2015.
Given his recent track record and the glut of other free agents still on the market, Aybar’s decision to opt out is somewhat surprising, as he could’ve potentially had a path back to the big leagues due to the Twins’ lack of middle infield depth. Jorge Polanco’s 80-game PED suspension meant that Eduardo Escobar is now in line for regular shortstop duty, leaving Ehire Adrianza as Minnesota’s only utility infield option on the MLB roster. Third baseman Miguel Sano could also still be facing a suspension on assault charges, which would further leave the Twins thin on infielders, though Taylor Featherston and Gregorio Petit are also still in the organization on minor league contracts.