The Detroit Tigers announced before Tuesday’s game that they completed a trade with the Atlanta Braves centered around infielder Erick Aybar. Aybar has made appearances at six different positions in his career, but the overwhelming majority of his time has been spent at shortstop. In 97 games with the Braves this season, Aybar is hitting .242/.293/.313 with two home runs and three steals. His 60 wRC+ is on pace for the lowest of any full season in his career, and his -5 DRS and -7.4 UZR are also below his norms.
Aybar spent ten seasons with the Los Angeles Angles before being traded to Atlanta last November in a significant deal that sent Andrelton Simmons to California. He is currently in the last season of a four-year contract and is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of this season.
Going the other way are Mike Aviles and Kade Scivicque. Aviles has been a polarizing figure, receiving a substantial amount of playing time but doing very little with it. Acquired during the 2015 offseason, Detroit has not been kind to Aviles. He has hit just .210 with 40 wRC+, figures that fall near the very bottom of all players with at least 180 plate appearances in the majors this season.
Scivicque, a catcher, was drafted in the fourth round in 2015 and has spent time in Short-Season Connecticut, Low-A West Michigan, and High-A Lakeland. In 2016 he has hit .282 with six home runs with the Flying Tigers down in Florida.
Despite Aybar’s numbers, this move represents an upgrade to the end of the Tigers’ bench. Manager Brad Ausmus liked to use Aviles because of his defensive versatility, but his struggles at the plate hardly justified the decision. With Jose Iglesias out on the disabled list, the Tigers needed extra depth at shortstop, and Aybar provides help at a position that was left with just Aviles, Andrew Romine, and Dixon Machado.