In this feature article at LA Angels, columnist Brent Hubbard examines the career path of incumbent Angels shortstop Erick Aybar.

After posting a stellar campaign in 2009, Aybar took a step backward in his development as a big league player. The Angels are in need of a serious offensive upgrade on the diamond wherever they can get one. No job should be considered secure outside of Kendry Morales at first base and Torii Hunter in right field heading into the 2011 season.

The Angels still need a leadoff hitter and there are players around the league who could fit the bill in the No. 1 spot and at short.

As the Angels attempt to recover from a sub-par 2010, many areas will have to be improved, particularly offense. One would probably identify outfield defense, leadoff hitter, third base and front of the ‘pen as issues areas that need to be improved.

Most offseason-related stories have focused on Tampa Bay free agent Carl Crawford as the ideal fit in Anaheim. And indeed he would be. Yet Crawford has a preference for more than just In-N-Out…he has a preference not to be the leadoff hitter.

And while this writer is fully in favor of obtaining a player such as Crawford, I think he is better suited to be the No. 2 or No. 3 guy in the lineup, leaving a hole at the top of the order.

Erick Aybar was supposed to be the solution. Coming off a great 2009, he was expected to transition seamlessly to the top of the order, replacing the departed Chone Figgins.

It didn’t work out that way.

This article continues at LA Angels

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