The San Diego Padres are in the need of a shortstop, and they have needed one for a while.
With no disrespect to Luis Sardinas, who is currently the starting shortstop, the team could definitely use some help.
Apparently help is on the way, as the team has inked veteran Erick Aybar to a minor league deal.
Sources: Erick Aybar has signed a minor league deal with the San Diego Padres. Will fight for a wide-open shortstop job.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 7, 2017
Ayabar will compete for a job in spring, and could very well earn a spot on the 25-man roster with a decent showing. Allen Cordoba is listed as the present backup at the position, but the Rule-5 pick is not a given to earn the job, being that he has never played above Single-A.
Aybar owns a career batting line of .273/.314/.373 in 4,842 at bats and 1,346 games. He is considered an average defensive shortstop, but is getting up there in age at 32. The switch hitter has decent speed, as he has 144 career stolen bases. He could be serviceable, but that depends on what he has left in the tank.
Confirming @JeffPassan‘s report that the Padres have indeed signed Erick Aybar to a Minor League deal. He’ll compete for a spot at short.
— AJ Cassavell (@AJCassavell) February 7, 2017
In 2016 Aybar hit .243 in 415 at bats. The light hitting infielder managed to drive three balls out the park and drive in 34 runs in his time in Atlanta and Detroit last season.
Aybar made $8.5 million last year, but his salary will not be anywhere near that; probably around one million if he makes the squad. Signing a minor league deal does not guarantee that he has a spot on the team, and gives Luis Sardinas a little motivation to hold onto the job. The signing is a bit underwhelming, but at this point there is not much out there in terms of serviceable shortstops.