At this rate, the 2012/2013 offseason is going to consist solely of Russell Branyan in a hot tub, hanging back and waiting the agents to come to him. Erick Aybar was likely going to be the best shortstop on the market, but it looks like the Los Angeles Angels are going to lock him up. From Jerry Crasnick:
The Los Angeles Angels are close to agreement on a multiyear contract extension with shortstop Erick Aybar, a baseball source told ESPN.com. The deal could be announced as soon as Thursday, when Aybar is scheduled to receive his 2011 American League Gold Glove Award before the Angels' game against Oakland in Anaheim...
The Angels reportedly are interested in signing Aybar to a contract similar in scope to (Howie) Kendrick's (four-year, $33.5 million).
The salient point there is "Gold Glove", as the the 28-year-old Aybar is known for his defense, mostly, though his offense stats -- .279/.322/.421 in 2011 and .274/.317/.377 for his career -- are more than acceptable for a player who fields as well as Aybar.
Though there is some debate about his glove. From The Fielding Bible, Vol. III:
He did win the 2011 Gold Glove Award thanks to his flashy and athletic play, but according to the Runs Saved system, this was a down-year defensively for Aybar, and even in his best defensive seasons, he has not played at an award-winning level.
But the Angels' other option was to fight other teams for Stephen Drew (who still isn't back from a serious injury) or ask Branyan if he'd sign or consider a move to short. Maybe if the Mark Trumbo experiment worked, they could have been even more creative. As is, though, they're probably thrilled to have Aybar around for a while.