After losing Lackey and Figgy to free agency, you'd think the Angels would do all they could to keep a budding potential superstar like shortstop Erick Aybar as happy as possible.
Happy in the lock-him-up-in-a-long-lucrative-contract sense, because Aybar is not exactly a brooder.
But, after Aybar sought a $2.75 million deal after making $460,000 last
year, and the Halos countered with a $1.8 million offer, the two sides agreed to a $2.05 million, one-year pact to avoid a salary arbitration hearing.
Aybar batted .312 with five homers and 58 RBI last season, something Baseball Prospectus labeled as a fluke (and the Orange County Register Angels blogger brushes right back here).
Freak season or no, Aybar will bunt to get on, light up the basepaths and turn in spectacular plays in the middle in 2010. Performance bonuses totaling $100,000 for plate appearances certainly won't hurt.
But the deal raises so many questions:
Since the Angels play small ball and need spark plugs like Aybar, why not push a pile of cash across
the table to lock him up for several seasons instead of just one?
Will it be considered the ultimate form of flattery in Anaheim if another team
out-bids the Angels for yet another homegrown player after the coming season?
Does the front-office brain trust long to see Aybar in pinstripes once Derek Jeter sets his retirement date?