ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Angels are close to finalizing a new contract for Gold Glove shortstop Erick Aybar.
Angels spokesman Tim Mead confirmed Wednesday that the club is getting close to a new deal for the switch-hitting leadoff man, who would have been a sought-after free agent this fall.
Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto has been negotiating with Aybar’s agent since shortly after he took over the club in October. Aybar agreed to a one-year deal worth $5.075 million for this season in January, avoiding arbitration while long-term negotiations continued.
Aybar will be getting a four-year, $34 million deal.
The 28-year-old Dominican shortstop went undrafted, but came up through the Angels’ system before making the majors in 2006. Aybar has been a full-time major leaguer since 2007, emerging as a starter in 2009 when he batted .312 with 58 RBIs while helping the Angels reach the ALCS.
Aybar batted .279 last season, but with career highs of 10 homers, 59 RBIs and 30 stolen bases while winning his first Gold Glove with a .980 fielding percentage. He is just the third Angels shortstop to win a Gold Glove.
Aybar’s deal will add another hefty contract to the Angels’ payroll. Los Angeles also signed All-Star second baseman Howie Kendrick to a new four-year, $33.5 million deal before the season, locking up the Angels’ double-play combination through 2016.
The Angels plan to honor Aybar for his Gold Glove before Thursday’s home game against Oakland, which seems like a logical time to announce his new contract as well.
After leading the Angels in batting average during spring training last month, Aybar has begun the regular season in a slump, batting .171 in the first 10 games during the Angels’ 4-7 start.