The Los Angeles Angels completed an oft-rumored four year, $35 million contract with shortstop Erick Aybar today. Aybar is coming off the best season of his career in 2011, and the deal will take him through the 2016 season, when Aybar will be 32 years-old. Aybar is making $5.075 million this year, and was scheduled to hit free agency after this season.
On the surface, I really like the deal for the Angels. The average value of the deal is just shy of $9 million per season, which is essentially paying him as a two win player. Aybar was worth 3.8 wins in 2009 and four wins in 2011, so if he’s able to keep up that peak, the Angels will get more than their money’s worth. However, if Aybar perfoms like he did in 2010, when he had a .636 OPS in 138 games, the Angels may have overpaid at the end of the day.
I’m not sure if Aybar’s four win season last year can really be replicated. He doesn’t walk a ton, and his ten homers were a career high. His 30 steals were also a career high, and there could be a possibility of regression there. But by the same token, his BABIP was only .301, which possibly signifies a lesser chance of regression. At any rate, the Angels were wise to lock up their shortstop at a relatively low cost, and if he’s able to perform like he has for two of the last three years, the deal will be a definite win for Los Angeles.