It seems as if the Rays rid themselves of one Mischievous Little Badger and acquired another one…
As you have no doubt heard by now, Willy Aybar has been arrested in the Dominican Republic on Domestic Abuse charges. He has been held without bail since last week and faces three months in jail if convicted. The latest reports indicate that the charges are expected to be dropped.
Aybar’s lawyers told appeals court prosecutor Jesus Fernandez Velez on Friday that Aybar’s wife had agreed to drop the charges, but had not done so yet.
Aybar is expected to either be the Rays opening day third baseman or be part of a platoon with Joel Guzman if Evan Longoria does not start the season on major league roster. However, if he remains in jail for any significant amount of time, this will certainly force the Rays to alter their plans. Even if the charges are dropped, Aybar will almost certainly miss the beginning of Spring Training. Aybar has not played a regular season game since 2006 after missing all of 2007 due to a wrist injury and a stint in rehab, and Spring Training is expected to be a very important tune-up.
While Aybar’s situation will certainly be discussed when the team decides whether or not to start Longoria on the big league roster, Aybar’s availability should have little bearing on the ultimate outcome. The Rays are not likely to decide the fate of their top prospect based on needs of the 25-man roster. If Aybar is unavailable or not ready for opening day, the team will either proceed with Guzman as the everyday third baseman or they will sign a cheap veteran free agent to fill the void until June when Longoria is expected to be called-up.
Report: Infielder Aybar jailed [DevilRays.com]