One of the minor confusing storylines of this winter was why Willy Aybar did not get signed by a major league team. Sure, his defensive skills had corroded some and the Rays didn't need him off the bench anymore, but he was only 28 years old and had some offensive upside. Well, thanks to Cork Gaines at Rays Index, we may now know:â†µ
Yesterday Willy Aybar signed with the Edmonton Capitals of the Independent North American League. We had been wondering why no Major League team would even give Aybar a minor league deal. Turns out it was because Aybar was sentenced to three months in prison in the Dominican Republic after he beat his wife. Aybar's wife ended up in intensive care for an extended period of time, in critical condition.â†µ
The original news story can be found here, and it looks pretty legit. I'm curious why no baseball writer found out about this news over the off season, but it might have just slipped through the cracks especially considering Aybar only hit .230 with middling power last season. Not many teams were likely to consider Aybar anyway, so most writers probably didn't think to go searching for why Aybar was being overlooked. I would assume that if Aybar hadn't been arrested, he would have received at least a minor league contract from some team.â†µ
This news catches me somewhat by surprise, as Aybar had always been a rather likable player. He was no star, but he'd had plenty of good moments with the Rays and his walk up song - "Boots With Da Fur" - made him a local legend. But if he beat his wife enough to land her in an ICU...well, I'm fine if he stays in the Independent Baseball League and I certainly hope he doesn't end up on the Rays again.