Padres add Aybar, Cruz on Minor League deals

Padres add Aybar, Cruz on Minor League deals

SAN DIEGO -- In need of shortstop depth, the Padres have signed veteran Erick Aybar to a Minor League contract, sources told MLB.com on Tuesday.

The club has not confirmed the deal, which was first reported by Yahoo! Sports.

Aybar enters camp with a chance to compete for a starting role, but Luis Sardinas is installed as the early favorite. Aybar could also have some trouble cracking the roster, with Rule 5 pick Allen Cordoba on board.

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The Padres think highly of Cordoba, but the 21-year-old has never played above Rookie Ball in the Cardinals organization. Whether he's capable of remaining on the roster for an entire season will go a long way in determining if there's space for Aybar.

In any case, the 11-year veteran brings some much needed depth at short, where the Padres were painfully thin. Sardinas was the only big league-ready starting option, with Cordoba, Dusty Coleman and Jose Rondon behind him on the depth chart. Those three have combined for 31 career big league plate appearances.

The 33-year-old Aybar -- who spent his first 10 seasons with the Angels -- has batted .273/.314/.373 with 51 homers in his career. He split last year between Atlanta and Detroit, posting a .243/.303/.320 slash line in 126 games.

Padres add catching depth

The Padres have also signed 30-year-old catcher Tony Cruz to a Minor League contract, though it appears unlikely Cruz will compete for a big league job.

Austin Hedges is set to start behind the plate, with Christian Bethancourt and Rule 5 pick Luis Torrens the favorites to back him up. Cruz -- along with fellow veteran Hector Sanchez -- will likely serve to provide depth in the Minors.

In parts of six seasons, Cruz has batted .218/.260/.308, while splitting time between St. Louis and Kansas City.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.