By now you know that Erick Aybar is terrible and deserves to be publicly flogged in the town square while children throw apples at him. But exactly how bad is Erick Aybar? Is he as bad as a recent Wall Street Journal article declared him "potentially the worst player in a generation"? And why the hell are the Braves still playing him everyday when we have a guy like Dansby Swanson in the minors, begging for some big show time?
I got into this discussion recently with a few of my Twitter followers. Most of them agree that the reason we are trying to play Aybar is to showcase him for a trade. The question is, can the Braves trade the worst player in a generation? Can they even get a bag of balls for the guy? I suppose since they were able to unload BJ Upton, there's always a chance the Braves can move him (although BJ/Melvin suddenly started playing well again so ha-ha front office he just hated it here, not baseball in general).
The other things I've heard related to service time for Dansby, not really having a proven better option at SS (except maybe Castro), and possibly the fact they are tanking for a first place draft pick by finishing dead last. I think if you want to finish last you should play Erick Aybar and act like a nice guy (because nice guys finish last hur hur). If you want to at least win some games, I'd put someone above Aybar's dismal -1.5 WAR on the field. HINT: That's anybody. He's terrible. Anybody would be better than him. Well maybe not ANYBODY, as I'll show you with some quick analysis.
So who is worse than Aybar right now? Prince Fielder and Alexei Ramirez, both with an astounding -1.8 WAR on Fangraphs. Which is funny because Prince is getting paid $24M this year to be the worst player in baseball, a defensive nightmare, and terrible at the only position he can play which is DH in the AL. That makes Aybar look like a gem in comparison. It gets worse when you see the Rangers are on the hook for $24M for another 4 years of Fielder, who is 32. You know what post-steroid power hitters don't do in their mid-30s? Get more powerful. That was reserved for guys riding the needle. In today's game, go look at Albert Pujols numbers when he turned 33 and beyond. That's what you get. MAYBE one good year out of every 4 left.
Alexei Ramirez is 34, playing on a $1M buyout option with the Padres, and sucking. He's worse than Aybar, but he costs much less $$$, which is probably the reason the Padres keep playing him. If there was an option to make a Redneck Swap Meet Trade (I take your junk, you take my junk, we try to fix each other's junk), then I've say Ramirez for Aybar makes sense. They are both SS's who may just need a change of scenary since neither team is going anywhere. Maybe you can get a prospect for Aybar out of San Diego because they've taken dumber trades from us before.
But in reality, there's no market for Aybar. He costs the Braves $6M this year, which means he only has about $2.5M left on the deal, and on top of that he's not signed beyond 2016. So what are you trading exactly? You want to rent Aybar for 2 months for your playoff run other GM's? What GM would be that stupid? If you want to try and fix Aybar, you can get him for next to nothing come December, and sign him to a minor league deal where he can work his way on a roster for a prove-it minimum. You don't pay $2.5M for Aybar's sub-.600 OPS and horrible defense.
Aybar isn't going anywhere until we get the 40-man roster callups, and he may not even leave then. Because I just don't think you have enough answers at SS in case somebody gets hurt for the long haul, and you're paying him already in a lost season. So why not keep playing him and annoying the hell out of me? I'm sure that's what the Braves are thinking. Well they better have a good option for 2017, because the shine will come off that stadium real fast if this team doesn't start looking like a professional baseball club soon.