Back in January the Angels were said to be interested in long-term contract extensions with impending free agent middle infielders Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar.
They got a deal done with Kendrick, signing the second baseman for $33.5 million over four years, but talks with Aybar have stalled. Until now perhaps, as Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles reports that Aybar’s agent is in Arizona to meet “face-to-face” with general manager Jerry Dipoto this week.
Aybar avoided arbitration with a one-year, $5.075 million contract and can hit the open market next offseason as a 29-year-old free agent at a position where the pickings are usually very slim, so getting him to sign long term may be tough at this point.
He also hit .279 with a .743 OPS last season, posting new career-highs in homers (10), doubles (33), runs (71), RBIs (59), and steals (30).
The St. Louis Cardinals have acquired Marcell Ozuna from the Miami Marlins. Craig Mish of Sirius XM was the first to report that the deal was done. Ozuna still has to take a physical.
There is no report yet about what the Cards had to give up to get Ozuna, but given that the Cards and Marlins put a deal together for Giancarlo Stanton, the sides certainly have discussed various Cards prospects recently.
Ozuna fills a major need for the Cardinals, who had serious weaknesses in the middle of the order in 2017. Last year their number three hitters hit a combined .246/.338/.425 and their cleanup hitters hit 270/.350/.444. Ozuna, 27, had a fantastic offensive year in 2017, hitting .312/.376/.548 with 37 home runs and 124 RBI in 159 games.
Ozuna made $3.5 million this past season and is due for arbitration this offseason. He is under contractual control through 2019.