Erick Aybar agrees to one-year deal, Angels still interested in long-term contract

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Last week the Angels were said to be talking to both shortstop Erick Aybar and second baseman Howie Kendrick about long-term contract extensions.

Kendrick agreed to a four-year, $33.5 million deal, but the negotiations with Aybar apparently haven’t been as smooth and today he avoided arbitration with a one-year, $5.075 million contract.

Aybar is eligible for free agency after this season, but general manager Jerry Dipoto told Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times that the Angels will continue to pursue a long-term extension before that can happen.

Kendrick’s contract bought out his final year of arbitration and first three seasons of free agency, so a similar deal for Aybar would be for approximately $28 million over three years, along with his current one-year, $5.075 million contract. Unfortunately for the Angels, with free agency right around the corner and a solid payday assured for 2012 a 28-year-old shortstop may not want to pass up the open market for a three-year pact.

Josh Donaldson is still seeking a long-term deal with the Blue Jays

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If it were up to him, Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson would finish the remainder of his career in Toronto. In fact, he’d be “ticked pink” if the club decided to sign him to a long-term deal. Whether the Blue Jays share that sentiment is still unclear, as Donaldson said Saturday that the team has yet to engage his agent in extension talks.

“I’ve said that I wanted to be here,” he told MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm. “That’s pretty much all I can say. I’m not the one who makes the decisions, nor would I try to put them in the position to do that. Like I said, I believe the situation will become more fluid when the time is right.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean an extension is out of the question. The Blue Jays reached an unprecedented one-year, $23 million agreement with the three-time All-Star in arbitration, and have been reticent to field trade offers despite continued interest from the Cardinals this winter.

Donaldson, 32, is poised to enter his eighth season in the majors and fourth with the Blue Jays. In 2017, he batted .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs and a .944 OPS in 496 plate appearances, ranking sixth among all major league third baseman with 5.0 fWAR. He’s scheduled to enter free agency following the 2018 season.