It is official, Erick Aybar is going to be a free agent at the end of this season. By agreeing to a one-year, $5.075 million contract to avoid arbitration, he pretty much guaranteed that.
Could an extension be worked out during the season? Technically, yes, but it is unlikely. Otherwise, the two sides would've kept negotiating in lieu of an arbitration trial rather than just settle now.
Does this mean that Aybar's days in Anaheim are numbered? Now that's an interesting question. One that is sure to linger over Aybar's season all year long.
Clearly, both sides have at least some interest in Aybar remaining an Angel, otherwise they wouldn't have engaged in extension talks this off-season, and last off-season too, if memory serves. Yet the interest isn't so intense that an agreement was made, as was the case for Howie Kendrick who made it known that staying an Angel was really the only future he foresaw for himself. If that is a vision that Aybar shared, the future he imagined obviously included more money than the Angels were offering.
So what's it going to take to get those visions aligned?