Erick Aybar was initially called day-to-day after he fractured his big right toe on July 21, but the Angels ended up playing it safe by placing him on the disabled list. However, the switch-hitting shortstop is back in the Angels’ starting lineup tonight against the Athletics after missing the minimum 15 days.
Aybar, who signed a four-year, $35 million extension with the Angels in April, is batting just .257/.296/.370 with four home runs, 28 RBI, seven stolen bases and a .666 OPS in 91 games played this season. After getting off to a very slow start, the 28-year-old batted .296 with an .817 OPS in June and July.
Maicer Izturis filled in at shortstop during Aybar’s absence, but he’ll now move back into a timeshare with Alberto Callaspo at the hot corner.
Earlier this offseason the Rays traded away franchise player Evan Longoria. Over the weekend they traded starter Jake Odorizzi to the Twins and designated All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment. These were clearly financially driven moves, and now the Rays sport a payroll of less than $70 million. The club’s offseason moves prompted Longoria to say that he feels sorry for Rays fans.
If you asked Rays brass, I’m sure they’d make strong statements defending all of these moves while offering evidence-light arguments that, yes, they truly are interested in fielding a competitive team in 2018. They would likely react VERY angrily to any suggestion that they are tanking this year. Teams never admit that they’re tanking.
In other news, the Rays announced a new blog: