Aybar left the Twins' camp Friday, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. Friday was Aybar's opt-out date in his contract, and he appears to have exercised that option after being told Thursday that he wouldn't make the team's roster. Even with Jorge Polanco suspended for 80 games, the Twins prefer Eduardo Escobar as a fill-in shortstop, with Ehire Adrianza as the backup infielder. Aybar has some fantasy value in deeper leagues as he can chip in with the occasional steal, swiping 11 bags in 108 games last year, but at 34 and with a declining glove and a bat which recorded wRC+ figures of 78, 65, and 74 in the past three seasons, he's unlikely to generate much interest on the free-agent market.
Aybar was informed Thursday that he will not make the Twins' Opening Day roster, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. Aybar, who was looking to lock down a reserve infield role in camp, will now have until Friday to decide if he wants to report to Triple-A Rochester or opt out of his contract and look elsewhere for a major-league opportunity. The 34-year-old is still a serviceable defender up the middle, but he hit just .234/.300/.348 across 270 plate appearances with the Padres in 2017.
Aybar signed a minor-league contract with the Twins on Friday that includes an invitation to spring training, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. Aybar spent the 2017 season with San Diego and posted a .234/.300/.348 slash line with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases in 370 plate appearances. The 34-year-old should serve as infield depth for the Twins, with third baseman Miguel Sano recovering from shin surgery and still in the midst of the league's investigation of the assault allegations made against him in December.
Aybar went 2-for-4 with a pair of stolen bases in Wednesday's 13-7 loss to Arizona. The 33-year-old is still getting it done on the basepaths, reaching double-digit steals for the eighth time in his 12-year career. Aybar has started 13 of the 16 games he has appeared in since returning from the disabled list Sept. 1, providing deep-league value over that span (.278 with a home run and three steals).
Aybar went 3-for-5 with a triple, an RBI and two runs scored in Friday's 10-6 win over the Diamondbacks. The veteran shortstop has started six of the Padres' last seven games despite the club being well out of contention. Aybar has gone 8-for-26 with three extra-base hits over that span, giving him deep-league appeal as long as he continues to see regular playing time.