FORT MYERS, FLA. – The Twins have agreed to sign veteran infielder Erick Aybar to minor league contract with an invite to major league spring training, according to a source with knowledge of the deal.
Aybar, 34, will compete for a utility spot on the roster.
The 12-year veteran, spent last season with San Diego, where he batted .234 with seven homers and 22 RBI. But he spent 10 years of his career with the Angels, winning a Gold Glove at shortstop in 2011 and being named an All-Star in 2014 at Target Field. He is a career .271 hitter.
He has a lifetime slash line of .271/.313/.372 with 58 home runs, 155 stolen bases and 473 RBI in 1,454 major league games.
The Twins feel the need to bring in another option for a utility player despite having Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza around. Aybar could be an option if Miguel Sano does not get in condition to start the regular season at third, and Escobar is needed to start there.
Sano also faces possible discipline as the league investigates an assault allegation against him.
Aybar's deal is worth $1.25 million if he makes the team, and he could earn more through incentives. He can opt out of the contract before spring training ends.
As this is a minor league deal, it does not affect the team's 40-man roster. They have 39 players on it now after losing reliever J.T. Chargois to the Dodgers on waivers Friday.
The Twins could also be taking advantage of the slow free-agent market to bring in an experienced player who can help at several positions. For all of you Chris Gimenez fans out there, Aybar pitched 1⅓ scoreless innings last season.
La VELLE E. NEAL III