2013 Angels in Review: Erick Aybar

By Michael Hllywa

We’re barreling through these reviews here at Halo Hangout, and that can only mean one thing; team awards are right around the corner. But, first, let’s discuss the nearly traded fixture at shortstop, Erick Aybar.

As much as i enjoy seeing the World Series end with a team winning it at home, the timing of this would have been perfect had that Series gone the full seven games. “Why is that,” you say. Because Michael Wacha would have been a big part of the Cardinals forcing a Game Seven at Fenway Park. Why is that important? Because as the trade deadline approached, The Angels offered Aybar to the Cardinals for the bargain price of both Wacha and Carlos Martinez. Naturally, the Cardinals laughed and then hung up on Jerry Dipoto.

By most statistical measures, Erick Aybar had a typical Erick Aybar season. His bWAR of 1.7 was his lowest since becoming a regular in the Angels lineup, but his slash line of .3271/.301/.382 wasn’t too far off from his career average of .277/.317/.386. The .683 OPS was a far cry from the .740 and .743 OPS’ that he posted in 2012 and 2011, respectively, but, as far as averages go, this is what we should have expected, right?

Well, no, actually. Last season was Aybar’s age-29 season. That, of course, puts him right in the middle of his prime years. It is not a good sign when a player has that kind of regression at this age. In fact, I think the only thing that didn’t regress for Aybar this past season was the amount of dip that he stuffs into his cheek during a game.

But, he’s still a slick defensive shortstop, right? Yeah, sure, sometimes. Except for all of those times when he can make the flashy play but not the simple ones. And it doesn’t help that his RF/G (Range Factor per Game) Was below league average for the second straight season. In case you haven’t caught on, I am little bit worried about the Angels fun-size shortstop.

And, to make matters worse, even if the Angels do decide to openly shop Aybar and the three years remaining on his contract, they don’t have a suitable backup waiting in the wings. Sure, there is Andrew Romine, but he stands a chance to win the third baseman job next spring. Any deal for Aybar would have to include a shortstop, which in turn would lower the value of pitching they would receive in return. It is definitely not an enviable position.

So, what should the Angels do? Well, hold on to Aybar, hope that last year was an aberration and that he will return to his 2011 and 2012 form. Because last year’s performance will simply not be good enough going forward.