Rays acquire infielder Willy Aybar for reliever Jeff Ridgway

January 18, 2008 at 9:06 am 6 comments

photo by: David Zalubowski/AP

The Rays acquired infielders Willy Aybar and Chase Fontaine from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for left-handed reliever Jeff Ridgway. The Rays stole a decent player who dropped out of favor for a lefty reliever that may not stick with a team.

Willy Aybar is a very versatile player. He can play 3B, 2B, and the Rays plan on working him out at 1B and the OF. His bat will be a welcome addition to the lineup. He is a very patient hitter with good discipline. In 329 MLB at-bats he has a .292/.387/.416 line with 26 doubles, 5 homers, and the best part is his 46/47 BB/K rate. He has gap power and will find the seats a few times. He should fit right in at the bottom of the order as a good on-base guy.

The only knocks on Aybar are that he is a poor baserunner (50-103 in stolen base attempts in pro career, and that is not a typo) and he tends to have “off-field” problems.

GM Andrew Friedman didn’t shy away from the issue either.

“We did a lot of due diligence into his problems from last year,” Friedman said. “While we recognized it’s a risk, we feel it’s a risk worth taking.”

Friedman said Aybar’s problem “needs to be monitored.”

“And it’s something we will be aggressive to help him any way we can to put a support network into place,” said Friedman, who noted such issues are a private matter.

This move does tend to make me think the Rays will wait until mid-June to call Evan Longoria up.

Chase Fontaine is a throw-in. He has great plate discipline and is a good baserunner but he has absolutely no power. He has a 103/145 BB/K rate in 590 at-bats over the last two seasons but only 42 extra base hits (only 7 of which are homers). I can’t speak for his defense but he seems to be more of a utility/pinch runner/pinch hitter type if he makes it to the Bigs.

Jeff Ridgway made his Major League debut with the Rays in September at the age of 27 after spending seven seasons in the Rays’ Minor League system. He made three relief appearances for the Rays and posted a 189.00 ERA.

Ridgway seems to be a last resort reliever to me.

The Rays would’ve done good getting anybody for Ridgway because he was unlikely to make the team and probably would’ve been cut. The Rays turned him into a great bench player and an organizational infielder.

-Jonathan C. Mitchell
some info taken from MLB.com


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. erik  |  January 18, 2008 at 10:33 am

    As long as Aybar is just insurance if Longoria doesn’t make the roster I like this deal. However, Aybar fell out of favor rather quickly and his wrist injury worry me.

  • 2. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  January 18, 2008 at 10:36 am

    He is. Friedman said this was a move to add depth to the roster. He did fall out of favor but he is a very good role player and the Braves could’ve gotten more than a 27 year old minor league reliever in return.

  • 3. Charlie Nehl  |  January 18, 2008 at 10:39 am

    It’s a minor deal at best. I think Eva(n) Longoria should make the teams this season. Aybar when healthy should be a decent utility.

  • 4. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  January 18, 2008 at 10:45 am

    I hope Longoria starts the season at 3B for the Rays so Aybar can be what he is, a great utility guy.

  • 5. Joi Sharelli  |  January 18, 2008 at 11:07 am

    I like the fact the Rays and Braves are doing business. 2 of my favorite teams workig it out is a plus! This Aybar deal is a plus!

  • 6. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  January 18, 2008 at 11:14 am

    I’m just sorry your Braves didn’t get much in return.


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