Earlier this year, the Los Angeles Angels locked up veteran second baseman Howie Kendrick to a four-year, $33.5 million contract. On Wednesday, they took care of the other half of their middle infield combination.
According to Enrique Rojas of ESPNdeportesLosAngeles.com, the Angels have reached agreement with shortstop Erick Aybar on a four-year, $35 million contract extension, paying him an average annual salary of $8.5 million per season.
Aybar, 28, is a career .274 hitter in parts of seven seasons with the Halos, and captured his first-ever Gold Glove award last season.
Aybar hit a career-high 10 HR with 59 RBI last season, hitting .279 with 30 stolen bases. It was easily the most productive season of Aybar’s career, and it was clear from the start of spring training that the Angels valued Aybar’s services long-term.
Aybar and Kendrick also currently make up the top tandem in the lineup as well, acting as table-setters for Albert Pujols, Kendrys Morales, Torii Hunter and Vernon Wells.
With Aybar, Kendrick and the speedy Peter Bourjos in center field, the Angels feature one of the defensive combinations up the middle in the American League.
Aybar is hitting just .171 thus far in his first 10 games this season, so maybe the settling of the contract situation is just the medicine that the doctor ordered for Aybar’s bat to come around.