Erick Aybar's declining wheels and the influx of power across the league has severely impacted his fantasy stock. At his best, he was a solid-if-unspectacular shortstop capable of a strong batting average, 20 or so stolen bases, 70 or so runs and a handful of homers. In the three seasons prior to 2016, he failed to reach 20 steals and managed just a 66 percent success rate on the basepaths. In 2016, he was just 3-for-8 on the bases -- a bruised foot injury in late-May likely didn't help matters -- and his .243 average was his lowest since a .237 mark in 211 plate appearances back in 2007. He joined the Tigers in mid-August and had a little rejuvenation. Very little. He walked 11 times in his 91 plate appearances, but didn't attempt a single steal with the club. He's 33, lacks a significant fantasy tool and doesn't look like a top-20 shortstop even if he beats out Luis Sardinas for the starting shortstop job in San Diego.
Aybar went 1-for-4 with an RBI in Wednesday's loss to the Royals. The veteran shortstop was brought into camp to compete for a roster spot. The 33-year-old has shown that he can still get the job done, batting .293 (12-for-41) with two RBI and a stolen base. Aybar is clearly outperforming other shortstop candidates, Luis Sardinas and Allen Cordoba, but his age and status as a non-roster invitee are working against him. The rebuilding Padres may be more inclined to give their younger options first crack at the job, which would leave the veteran without a job. Manager Andy Green hasn't laid out his plan for the shortstop position, so we have to continue to assume Aybar is still in the mix for the starting job.
Aybar went 2-for-3 in Thursday's spring training loss to the Brewers. The two hits brought the veteran shortstop's Cactus League batting average up to .278 in 18 at-bats. Aybar was signed to a minor league contract this past offseason and is trying to make the roster as a utility infielder.
Aybar signed a minor league contract with the Padres on Tuesday, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports. The 33-year-old spent time with Detroit and Atlanta in 2016, slashing .243/.303/.320 across 459 plate appearances. Although it is a minor league deal, the veteran is supposed to compete with Luis Sardinas for the starting shortstop job.
Aybar is not in the lineup for Monday's game against the Twins. Aybar will get a day off after making three straight starts at third base. Andrew Romine will get the nod at the hot corner for the Tigers on Monday night.
Aybar (abdomen) is back in the lineup Friday against the Orioles. Aybar has been limited to just two plate appearances (both walks) -- and has been scratched from the lineup twice -- over the past week while dealing with left abdominal soreness, but he's now feeling healthy enough to slot back into the lineup Friday. He's slated to man third base and bat eighth against Kevin Gausman.