Erick Aybar enjoyed a career year in 2011 at shortstop for the Angels. The 28-year old, in his sixth year with the club, hit .279 last season with career bests in home runs (10), RBIs (59), and stolen bases (30). On top of that, Aybar won his first Gold Glove in 2011, with a fielding percentage of .980. Aybar seems to be growing into his prime, and with a career .276 batting average, .319 OBP and .970 FPCT, looks to be the answer at shortstop for the Angels for years to come. The only thing getting in the way of securing him long-term? The man needs to get paid.
Throughout the offseason and into this spring, one of the major story lines around the Halos has been the contract status of their star shortstop. GM Jerry Dipoto has been hard at work during camp, meeting face-to-face with Aybar’s agent to try and work out a long-term extension. The team tried to get one done this winter, but couldn’t come to terms, so they signed him to a one-year $5.075 million deal while they hammered out the details. Aybar will become eligible for free agency this November if a deal doesn’t happen.
However, there’s very little fear of that happening. The Angels have shown no hesitation in spending the money to lock up their talent. Plus, with a rush of new revenues from a lucrative new television contract, the Angels have shown this off-season that they are willing to pay out the big bucks. Last August, the team gave their ace, Jared Weaver, a five-year deal worth $85 million. Then during the winter meetings, the team made their big splash signing free agents Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson to lucrative deals worth a combined $330 million. Aybar’s double-play counterpart Howie Kendrick inked himself a four-year $33.5 million contract this January. The precedent is there for the team to reward talent, so Aybar will be their next priority, you would imagine.
So what will Aybar’s contract look like? Shortstop is a premium position, and Aybar’s Gold Glove will drive the cost of his services up substantially. But as the Angels have shown, price is no issue when it comes to getting their players.