Detroit Tigers should try to sign Erick Aybar for veteran infield depth

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 17: Erick Aybar (Photo by Russell Lansford/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 17: Erick Aybar (Photo by Russell Lansford/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Tigers could use some additional infield depth. Could former Tiger Erick Aybar be the answer?

Last week, the Detroit Tigers traded Ian Kinsler to the Los Angeles Angels. Going into next season, it appears that the rebuilding Tigers will have a rather young infield.

Right now, Dixon Machado appears to be the favorite to take over for Kinsler at second base. Machado performed quite well in a utility role last season, but it still remains to be seen if he can be an everyday player.

Jeimer Candelario appears to be the likely third baseman. Candelario was very impressive after coming over from the Chicago Cubs last year, but he will enter next season having played in only 43 big league games.

Jose Iglesias, barring a trade, will be the likely shortstop once again. Obviously, superstar Miguel Cabrera, who will be looking to bounce back from the worst season of his career, will be back at first base.

Another utility player needed

After losing Andrew Romine on waivers to the Seattle Mariners back in early November, the Tigers could use another utility player to help out in the infield. While the Tigers have Sergio Alcantara and Dawel Lugo on their 40-man roster, they may both need a little bit more time in the minors.

The Tigers also recently signed Niko Goodrum, but he has appeared in a mere 11 games in his big league career. One free agent Detroit could consider is former Tiger Erick Aybar.

Aybar briefly played for the Tigers in 2016. He was acquired from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for Mike Aviles. Through 29 games, he hit a respectable .250/.341/.350 with one home run.

Aybar spent last season with the San Diego Padres. He slashed .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs through 108 games. He graded out right around replacement level, posting a 0.2 bWAR and a -0.2 fWAR.

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While the soon-to-be-34-year-old Aybar is probably not the same player he was during his prime with the Angels, he could still be a useful piece for the Detroit Tigers.

While he has played mostly shortstop throughout his career, he could also help out at second and play a little bit of third base as well.

Moreover, according to Chris McCosky of the Detroit News, GM Al Avila recently expressed a willingness to “bring in veterans” to challenge Machado and Candelario.

As a switch-hitter, Aybar would give the Detroit Tigers another left-handed bat to throw in the mix. He is still a player who can reach double-digits in the stolen base department as well.

Affordable option

When Aybar joined the Padres before last season, he was signed to a minor league deal. He ended up earning $1.75 million last year, according to Baseball-Reference. It seems reasonable to imagine that he might be available a one-year or minor league deal this offseason as well.

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With the Detroit Tigers not looking to spend big, Aybar could be a good fit. He would not only be affordable, but he would provide an additional veteran presence for the Tigers as well.