July 31, 2013

Will #Cardinals land Erick Aybar

Every Cardinals fan knows that the team is weakest at shortstop, where Pete Kozma's 2012 postseason heroics aside, he has little bat, and the Cardinals don't have any immediate options below him.

And, since the allegedly strong-gloved Kozma has made two errors in this week, one wonders if they're still buyers at shortstop, and, even with a great team overall, how much they should be.

Alexei Ramirez was an earlier focus, but it seems like the White Sox have overpriced him, and I wouldn't overvalue him, anyway. So, who else is out there that could be aseems one of three only "likely" or even "possible"?

Elvis Andrus has backslid offensively this year, and the Rangers probably want too much. Plus, his contract is an albatross. I'm not paying $15M a year for him for the rest of the decade.

Erick Aybar from the Angels is more intriguing. Relatively cheap, Kozma's equal with the glove, and a moderate (more than modest, I think) upgrade with the bat. He's certainly the best of these three trade options offensively. And, until this year, I would have put him in roughly the same defensive category as Ramirez, but his range has slumped this year.

I woudn't have thought of Aybar until this weekend and the Angels' "openness" was mentioned. He's definitely the best financial option, signed for a reasonable number of years at a relatively low price. He's two years younger than Ramirez, and signed for one more year than him at approximately the same price per year.

That gives the Cards another year of cost control and another year to look for who it can develop, or to possibly even extend Aybar another year or two.

Meanwhile, the Cards are reportedly kicking the tires on him. I say kick away. I'm not offering one of the top young-gun starters, but maybe another. I'd start with Carlos Martinez, then graduate from there. (The Angels likely wouldn't nibble on John Gast, even as part of a package.) I'd hope the Haloes wouldn't ask for Michael Wacha, but that's a bridge to be crossed when it pops up.

And, it now appears that, at least on pre-waiver trade deadline, the answer is no.

(Oh, and other Cardinal blogs, whether writing entirely about them or just in part? You can't be that baseball-deep if you just say "the Cards should trade for Player X" without discussing who they should or should not offer in return.)

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