Willy Aybar

I know a lot of people are disappointed that Wilson Betemit was traded, and so am I, but I’m excited that the Braves got Willy Aybar in exchange. Aybar — like Betemit, a switch-hitting infielder — was BP’s #34 prospect after the 2004 season. He had a disappointing AAA campaign but played well after his callup. He’s been up and down between Vegas and LA this year, and played pretty well both places. His .250 major league batting average hides a lot of positives. His OBP of .356 is actually higher than Betemit’s, and though he doesn’t have quite Betemit’s power a .164 ISO is pretty respectable.

The Braves might still have to make a callup, as Aybar hasn’t played shortstop, at least not in the majors. He’s projected as a third baseman and has mostly played there in the minors, but has been playing a lot of second with Jeff Kent hurt. He still has options, so they might send him to Richmond and call up L’il Tony, though if they were smart they’d put Orr on assignment.  (Or Chipper might have to go on the DL, which would suck.) If he’s really 23, as he’s listed — of course, you can’t count on Dominican ages — he’s still a few years away from his peak, which could be pretty good. High end Edgardo Alfonzo, low end Joe Randa.

Willy Aybar – Statistics – The Baseball Cube

64 thoughts on “Willy Aybar”

  1. I really like Aybar when I checked out his minor league stats, and he is a switch hitter like Betemit. Of course, he is three years younger than Wilson as well. If there is a way I can feel better about this trade, Wilson is traded for Aybar and a throw-in former closer who has been struggling.

    I generally like this trade if Baez is not involved. I am just not a fan of Baez. He is another Dan Kolb who throws nothing but a mid-90s sinking fastballs. Welcome back Danny boy!

  2. I wrote this during the offseason:

    Importing someone like Todd Jones (as a free agent) or Danys Baez (in trade) would be a mistake. The Braves have traded for three Other People’s Closers in the last two seasons. These three are the first three players discussed above. That just doesn’t work. Jones and Baez are exactly the same sort of pitcher as Kolb, Reitsma, and Farnsworth — good relievers who had big years after stumbling into closer situations — and are likely to decline.

    Baez did decline, as predicted. But he’s likely to rebound. His strikeout rate (before this season) wasn’t great, but it was better than Kolb’s, and he’s always had better control than Danny Boy.

  3. I can live with this deal but I wouldnt mind signing Baez to an extension. He doesnt thrive in the closer role really but he is a good pitcher and I think he can be counted on to get outs. Basically he’s a major league reliever which is what we need.

    Also, Wilson wasn’t going to play every day until Chipper retired or moved accross the diamond, so hopefully in the infield we basically traded for a younger Wilson who will actually be ready when Chipper does move on, as opposed to now when the timing was off.

    Even if we dont resign Baez, I’m satisfied with the timing issues. If we retain Baez, all the better. We need to start a season with some real pitchers in the pen for a change.

  4. Well, the Danny Boy comparison was more a joke. I will see what he will do.

    The more I look into Aybar, the more I believe he will be a full-time second baseman eventually. He is physically better prepared to play second base than Wilson as he is shorter, and I like Aybar’s plate discipline as well. He may actually be the one who will replace Marcus at second base.

  5. So who do we trade Marcus for? Only a few days left to pull it off.

    Good question. Not sure if every team has figured out that he’s not that great anymore. The time to sell high may have past.

  6. I’m optimistic. I wasn’t sure when I first heard the deal (having never heard of Aybar), but now I have some hope it could work out in our favor. I wouldn’t want to rely on Baez to close, but as a setup man for Wickman this might work out.

  7. posted this on the other thread…

    Aybar: 43 games, .250, 12 doubles, 22 RBI, .356 OBP

    Betemit: 88 games, .281, 16 doubles, 29 RBI, lower OBP.

    in 45 more games, Betemit has 7 more RBI’s, is older, slower, and plays worse defense.

  8. Dix,

    Justin Duchscherer.It might take a prospect as well but it would help. Who knows maybe he could start.

  9. Marcus is only 1 year+ away from FA. So, this deal may possible be one which get us a future replacement for Marcus.

    Do you guys realize JS may have traded Marte and Betemit, both blocked by Chipper at third base, for a starting shortstop and a starting second baseman of the future?

    Now that I view Baez as a throw in, I am feeling a lot better.

  10. I love this trade!!! We get a solid, very solid reliever. I think Baez will be our closer next year! We also get a solid young prospect for the future who can fill in at 3B. Betemit is a good 5th infielder but do you honestly think he can be a 25-30 hmr, 300 hitter guy. I just don’t see it. He’s old enough where you know what you are getting. Look, it’s worth a chance. We still have a shot at this thing and if we aren’t going to improve the starting pitchign at least we are going to improve the relief so they can come into a game like this and keep it interesting.

    Keep in mind just LAST year he had 41 saves for tampa bay!!! His ERA was below 3. It’s not as if this guy has been declining for years now. Between him and Wickman we have over 80 saves last year. Suddenly is our bullpen a strenght???

    Perhaps my only question is where was this trade two weeks ago???

  11. Gee Brad, don’t cha think Wilson’s 80+ points of slugging percentage advantage make a bit of a difference? Aybar may fill out or whatever, but there is no guarantee.

  12. Well, Aybar has mostly been a starter and Betemit’s only averaged about 2 AB a game, so that’s not really a fair comparison. And Betemit is probably a better third baseman but a worse second baseman.

  13. We get a solid, very solid reliever.

    Yeah a 4.35 ERA in Dodgers stadium. That’s dynamite. He lost the closer job for a reason.

  14. I just learned of the trade, but it seems great. The stats make aybar out to be wilson jr, if not better in a couple of years. I think it is too early to speculate about giles, but it does provide options for next year and beyond without taking much away from wilson’s production this year. Baez is a plus. Hopefully JS will sign wickman or baez to be the closer next year. JS, Bobby, and McDowell should treat this season as an audition for the closer spot next year, whomever performs better, or if they perform equally, the cheaper option should be picked up next year.

  15. being that pitching needed the most addressing (especially the ‘pen) coming into this trade deadline, i’m happy so far with the moves that have been made. think anything else is on the horizon??

  16. Ok, I’ll compare them more accurately:

    Aybar: same stats in 128 at-bats

    Betemit: same stats in 199 at bats.

    71 more at bats for betemit, 7 more rbi’s.

    and aybar can probably lead off.

  17. Marcus for Arod.

    Arod might be willing to move to 2nd base where he can hide from the media because no one will think to look for him there. Then he can just relax and pretend like he’s got no pressure to perform, which he won’t because the Yanks will be paying the half of his salary that the Rangers arent. Plus the short throw might be easier for him to make.

    Trade works for the yankees too because they can just buy Brian Giles from the Padres and play him as short fielder right behind marcus and let Jeter cover 3B and SS at the same time.

  18. we don’t need another power hitter.

    Obviously. I mean how many teams have you seen have their season ruined by having too much power?

    Ok, I’ll compare them more accurately:

    Aybar: same stats in 128 at-bats

    Betemit: same stats in 199 at bats.

    71 more at bats for betemit, 7 more rbi’s.

    Thanks for being so accurate. I think I understand what your saying. I’m glad you like the deal.

  19. Obviously. I mean how many teams have you seen have their season ruined by having too much power?

    If this deal were betemit for aybar, you’d have a point. But Aybar was the throw-in. We significantly upgraded the bullpen and didn’t have to sacrifice much. Betemit has more power–congrats. Buy Aybar is faster, can lead off, is younger, plays better defense and has a higher OBP. That’s all I’m saying to the people jumping off the ledge tonight.

  20. The more I hear and read about Aybar, the more it makes me like this deal. I really liked the WB but he was always expendable.

    As I posted in the other thread, it doesn’t sound like JS is done trading yet, listening to the press conference. I guess we’ll see over the next couple of days.

  21. I know Baez is a FA at end of year, and if all goes well, which i’m hoping we can resign him and he can be our closer in 07. He’s still young and only a year away from a great year!

  22. Maybe we should get Erik Bedard he is really good this season.

    The Orioles aren’t trading Bedard. Forget about it.

  23. Hi, I’m a Dodger fan who’s wormed his way over to your neck of the woods; hope you don’t mind. Anybody here want to weigh in on Betemit’s actual age?

    I really liked Aybar, and hope he plays well for you (except when you’re playing us). Baez, well, sorry, I can’t wish him well. But he can’t possibly be as bad for you as he’s been for us.


  24. I’m surprised no one has mentioned in today’s posts the pitcher’s duel between Zach Miner and Francisco Liriano tonight — I didn’t realize Miner had been in the Tigers’ rotation since the beginning of June, and he’s posted a 3.95 ERA.

    I realize JS meant to sign Farnsworth as the closer last offseason, but Miner would definitely be an upgrade over the Thomson/Cormier/Schiell dog-and-pony show we’ve had every fifth day this summer. Hindsight’s always 20/20 though….

  25. Hi… As I noted in the post below this one, Betemit was born in November, November of 1981 to be precise. He’s currently 24. This is pretty well established; the Braves were disciplined by MLB for signing him before his 16th birthday. He had a false birthdate he was using to sign, and that’s still listed in most of the official sources.

  26. Wow… I missed a LOT tonight! …I hate that I had to return home and find out that we lost!

    I went down to Mobile to see the AA Braves… Thomson made a rehab appearance which last all of like 1 and half innings… he looked good in the first but then when he came back out for the second… you could tell something was wrong but he kept going and finally called the trainer out and he left the game and went to the locker room.

    Then toward the end of the game… we got a Mobile runner in a run down and Mike Rozema tagged him out… I’m not sure but it looked like the guy smarted off to him and then Rozema threw his glove down and went after him and Canizares ran after him trying to pull him away ….then the benches and bullpens were cleared and everyone was in the middle of the field! …very entertaining!

  27. I just read thru all the posts since this thing went down…I was like most of you. When I saw the trade come across the ESPN wire, I was initially bummed. Basically because I was holding out false hope that Betemit would not be traded. I just liked watching him play. So now an hour later, I’ve checked this trade out and I’m starting to feel alright about it. I think Baez will be a solid set up guy for us and I really like Aybar’s potential. I think the truth is that Betemit had no position for this team. Aybar on the other hand can fill in at the two spots we need help the most (2b and 3b). The only infield postition that may be open next year is 2b as I think Giles will be traded before 07 and Chip isn’t moving anywhere. Especially with the way LaRoche has solidified 1b (never thought I’d say that). I think this is a tough move, but the type of move that a GM has to have the guts to do. We want to win and we have a guy who plays on our bench who has enough value to get a setup/closer and a solid prospect. JS may have had to pull the trigger.

  28. Hawkeyefan I mentioned the Zach Minor and Liriano match-up earlier on the Marlins 6 Braves 1 thread. #201.

  29. Oh. Sorry, Jay. I don’t get many jokes.

    BTW, word for Orioles insider sources is that Miguel Tejada is very likely to be traded to LAA by the end of the weekend for a big haul of prospects and Ervin Santana. They said the trade is just waiting for Angelos’ approval. Now, obviously, this can be a big hurdle, and this isn’t an Orioles board, thankfully, but I figured if it went down, y’all might like to say you knew ahead of time. :-)

  30. Hey, Mac, thanks for the help on the birthdate. There was all manner of confusion over at Dodger Thoughts about Betemit’s age.

    Aybar’s been good for us, but we didn’t seem to know how/where to use him, and we need a third baseman with a little pop. Despite Izturis’s home run tonight, he’s not a long-term solution at third. Word is that while Kent’s recovering from his oblique muscle problems Izturis will move to second and Betemit will take over at third.

    As for Baez, he’s been awful. I hope he does better for you guys than he did for us. One of his nicknames on the Dodgers blog was “the Cuban Missile Crisis,” similar to the one for Don Stanhouse “Don Two-Pack,” because he’d get into so much trouble that Weaver would smoke two packs of Raleighs while Stanhouse was pitching.

  31. I wish we could get Ervin Santana. 11-4 4.25 ERA 97Ks 46BB. High ERA but I would be willing let that slide.

  32. Let’s do a BravesJournal group night for the September 9th clubs game. If we get commitments from 10 folks I’ll buy the tickets and use PayPal for reimbursement.

    This trade sets us up as either buyers or sellers at 6:00 PM Sunday afternoon.
    If we loose the next two look for a big exit. Giles would be the smallest name in the potential outbound trades (Smoltz, Salty, Chipper could be on the block).
    We win the next two and we’re buyers or standing pat.

    The Wickman vs Baez audition theory is solid.
    Regardless how ridiculous the idea; A-Rod would thrive in Atlanta.
    The crowd was lame at Turner tonight.

  33. Downtown, trust me Smoltz and Chipper aren’t going anywhere. Salty may go and I would be ok with that if we get someone good. He won’t start over BMAC so why not trade him while he is still a hot prospect. I suggested Salty and Langy to TB for Crawford but that was ruined by Dioner Navarro. Other teams that need a catcher are:

    St.Louis(if Yadier doesn’t start to hit.)

    That’s all I can think of the top of my head. Maybe we can get Adam Wainwright back for Salty. Doubt it but it’s a thought.

  34. Downtown ATL,

    Count me in for two tickets. Sadly, we haven’t made a game all year and this sounds like a great reason to go to the Ted. I’m about an hour SE of ATL and eBay quite a bit so the Paypal thing sounds perfect for me.

  35. What am I missing on Baez? All the saves he accumulated are from losing clubs, and Baez’s strikeouts to inning ratio has been alarmingly decreasing, and he choked immediately after he traded to a winning team, and he throws nothing but a mid-90s sinking fastballs…you can pretty much plug Kolb’s name to the above and everything would still apply.

    What to like about Baez? 1) His walk rate remains solid despite the current struggle; 2) he will be the setup man rather than the closer, and 3) his ERA away from (3.3) home is more than 2 runs better than his home ERA (5.4). Maybe a change of scenery to a less pressured city is exactly what will cure Baez. We will see.

  36. I really liked Wilson, but Aybar sounds like a comparable player with maybe higher upside. He probably won’t give the Braves quite as good offense as Wilson would have the rest of the year, but with Chipper down the Braves are no longer in the hunt for a postseason spot and can afford to let Aybar develop so he is ready to start next year. As a bonus, they get Baeyz who may not be great but should be an upgrade over many of the other stiffs the Braves have tried.

  37. Oh man, this is WAY better than I was expecting. After DOB posted his support of a Betemit for Proctor straight-up deal TWICE, I was really scared. Apparently the Dodgers are picking up the rest of Baez’s contract, which is even better. Baez is trash (though better than most of the Braves current trash) but Aybar is a decent prospect. Betemit is also a decent prospect, so I don’t think I would have done the deal, but it could have been a lot worse.

    The one thing I hate about the Braves FO is how they have favorites. Betemit has been treated pretty poorly, yanked up too early then not allowed to play when he was ready. For a team that prides itself on secrecy, Betemit’s been on the trade block for two years. They were also clearly leaking negative info about him to the Atlanta press. “Too big to play second,” totally classless. The Francoeur parade is just annoying. While Diaz and Thorman can play their ways into regular PT, Betemit has to wait for the team’s sub-.700 OPS second baseman to really injure himself. Betemit ought to be happy he’s leaving. Dodger fans are good, but the management is horrible. But, he couldn’t be treated much worse than he got in Atlanta.

  38. Now, if we could only get a starter or two. I switched off the computer and tv early last night, when it appeared the game was over (and it was). It has been my theory for some time now that a major problem for us right now is our starting five, in as much as Smoltz is the only non-question mark. Let’s face it, Horacio is a number five. Ideally, he’ll give you two good starts and two poor ones, and the fifth can be skipped. James, too, right now is a number five (his youth and propensity to give up the long ball are factors here). Sheill and others are also number fives at best. Smoltz is our ace, but he’s better suited now for a number two role. And Hudson is a disaster as an ace, although he might be a pretty good four. I don’t blame JS for this (the bullpen is another matter), for he equipped this team with multiple starter options, but Davies, Ramirez, James, and Thomson have all been hurt this season. Ideally, I suppose, Davies and Thomson are supposed to rescue the day. I don’t see this happening now. So, if we aren’t going to get a starter or two, we had better be sellers and begin stocking up for next season.

  39. Well, I don’t know if it was Betemit’s size that kept him from playing well at second base, but it wasn’t pretty. I suppose if he played there regularly for a while he could be passable, but he was clearly a third baseman: the way he moves, his arm, etc. I guess this could be “leaked” negative info, but I thought everyone pretty much knew this just from watching him play.

  40. Miranda–Thanks for your AA update. It is always nice to have a report from the minors. Rozema may never make it the majors (and if he does he will be a bit player), but he has been great value since the Braves drafted him.

  41. I hate to see Betemit go. The Dodgers are building a small collection of former Braves. It remains to be seen whether Aybar can actually approach Betemit’s value. I am not crazy about statistical comparisons and Betemit seemed to be able to energize the Braves with big hits. I think the Dodgers have acquired a real baseball player.

    That said, if Baez is used in a limited role he could be a good pick-up. Finishing games with Ray, Baez and Wickman should be promising.

    I only fear that these moves come rather late in the day…

  42. JC, you’re right that Betemit was horribly misused by management, but at least this year I think he was used by Bobby in a way to make him feel extraordinarily valuable to the team–which, indeed, he was. The relentless cup-of-coffeeing of Betemit’s prospect status is hopefully a model of ineptitude that the Braves will not follow again.

    I’m not quite as pessimistic on Baez, just because relievers have a way of being wildly inconsistent, especially closers: even if he’s had a bad year with them, he might have a good year for us. Diminishing K rate is worrisome, but the Dodger situation–ballooning payroll, horrendous injury list, bad GM situation between DePodesta and Colletti–I think he might be able to be effective for us. Besides, he’s just a setup man.

    All in all, as much as I hate losing Betemit, I’m very happy about this trade. We lose a phenomenal player, but he’s a phenomenal player that we were utterly underusing, so the actual change to our on-field squad is minimal.

  43. I hope and think that JS made this deal with an eye to the future, not just this year. Because this team is going nowhere this year, with an ERA that is 14th in the league. This is a very poor pitching staff that needs significant upgrading both in starting and relieving. I’m skeptical that Baez will be that much better, but at least Aybar seems like a prospect. I think JS is trying to position the team for the offseason, possibly to move Giles if there is any interest out there. The system just hasn’t produced any pitching; they speak of Davies as if he is an established pitcher, but he had a 6.12 ERA when he got hurt. He’s just another prospect. They have no power arms of which I am aware. It looks like they got taken on Hudson. Teams don’t go to the playoffs with pitching as bad as the Braves have.

  44. I agree that the starting pitching problems tend to be overlooked. Davies has potential, but he is not proven and Hudson has been disappointing to say the least. I am not expecting Mike Hampton to be a dominant pitcher next season either.

    With the exception of Matt Wright (who is finding the transition to Richmond to be challenging), the Braves hardly have a starting pitching prospect how appears to be ready by 2007. Instead, during the last two seasons a combination of injuries and reversals have left the Braves without pitchers who might help in 2007. Jake Stevens, Brady Endl, Gonzalo Lopez all might have been on the horizon, but for various reasons they no longer fit the bill.

    I suspect that Parr has made more progress than his numbers indicate, but Kelvin Villa seems stuck at Myrtle Beach. With Matt Harrison, Parr, Villa, Atilano and Reyes the Braves should be able to count on some help in 2008, but 2007 beckons with some real question marks. We can hope that Matt Wright finishes well at Richmond…

  45. Atilano has a 4.50 ERA in a pitchers park, with 45 K’ s in 116 innings. He is no prospect; that line, which pretty much follows his prior career, shows that he is dreadful. He was drafted high, but the Braves really missed on him; he will never make it to MLB unless something dramatic happens.

  46. I really liked Betemit but the more I read of Aybar the more I like the trade. If Baez can get back to his old form, as our setup man, then we will come out like bandits on this trade.

  47. I agree. I just read about Aybar in the BP from 2 years ago; he seems to be Wilson light, with more on-base and less pop, meaning if Baez is okay, we end up better off.

  48. I agree that the Braves probably draft Atilano too high. That said, Atlilano has pitched better in the last few weeks (his era was much higher as he got rocked in May) which gives him a favorable trajectory. Clearly, he is a `projectable’ player, but there is still no reason to think that he does not have an upside. In other words, Atilano is not Morton.

  49. Well, just to echo most people’s comments here, I like the trade. Aybar is essentially Betemit three years ago, and could be a solid player. Plus, Baez is much better than he’s shown this year (though not as good as he was last year in Tampa), and he’ll fit in nicely in the 8th inning role in front of Wickman. I would *not* have him close, however. I do think JS can probably resign him to a moderate set-up guy contract for the next 2 years too.

    It does sadden me to lose the WB, though. So long, Wilson. If we’re still doing the whole adopting player thing, I need a new player. I guess I’ll take Baez.

  50. Sad to see WB go. Hopefully Aybar will be the player people hope he can be and Baez will turn things around. In any case he couldn’t possibly be worse than some of what we’ve seen this year.

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