Today the Angels and Erick Aybar made official what was all but finalized last week, announcing a four-year, $35 million contract extension for the switch-hitting shortstop.
Aybar, who’s making $5.075 million this season, gets $1.5 million more than double-play partner Howie Kendrick received in his four-year deal signed in January. Both players would have been free agents after this season.
Aybar’s extension begins next season and will keep him with the Angels through 2016, when he’ll be 32 years old. And because committing to a speedy shortstop into his mid-30s is generally a huge risk the Angels did well to get it done for only four years.
He’s off to a poor start this season and has never been a particularly strong hitter with a .274 batting average, .317 on-base percentage, and .377 slugging percentage in 640 career games, but Aybar captured his first Gold Glove award last season, adds value with his speed as well, and has been worth around $48 million during the previous four seasons according to Fan Graphs.
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that the Giants were “sniffing around” on Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco at the recently completed Winter Meetings.
Franco, 25, would be a nice buy-low candidate for the Giants, who don’t have a reliable third baseman yet. Currently, Pablo Sandoval would get the lion’s share of starts at the hot corner. Franco was a consensus top-100 prospect going into the 2014 and ’15 seasons, but hasn’t lived up to the hype over the last two seasons. In 2017, he hit .230/.281/.409 with 24 home runs and 76 RBI in 623 plate appearances.
Moving Franco wouldn’t necessarily solve any problems for the Phillies. After signing first baseman Carlos Santana, Rhys Hoskins is expected to play in the outfield full-time. As a result, the Phillies have too many outfielders with Odubel Herrera, Nick Williams, and Aaron Altherr. Technically, the Phillies could move Santana to third base as he has experience there, but he hasn’t played the hot corner since 2014.
Franco is arbitration eligible over the next four seasons, which might be the most attractive thing about him to other teams.