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Braves already have messy middle infield situation

Erick Aybar's first week in Atlanta was not good.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The most concerning part of the Braves' 0-5 start to the season wasn't the hitting or pitching, though neither were overly impressive. The biggest concern was the defense, which directly cost the Braves two wins in their first two games. Things got even worse during Saturday night's blowout loss to the Cardinals, and the defense continued to have issues during Sunday's 12-7 defeat.

The middle infield is a mess right now. It has predominately featured Erick Aybar at shortstop and a mix of Jace Peterson and Gordon Beckham at second. Beckham's defense was atrocious against the Nationals, while Jace has been OK in the field while doing little at the plate.

The real issue has been Aybar. Granted everyone would pale in comparison to the greatness that is Andrelton Simmons, but it's been brutal to watch. So bad that after four games, Mark Bowman writes the club is already considering a change.

The Braves might not make a rash decision this early in the season. But after watching Aybar struggle with his footwork and make a few errant throws to throws to first base through the first four games, they are at least contemplating making a change within the near future. [...]

But if Aybar continues to struggle in the field and provide the daily reminder that he was acquired in the same deal that sent Simmons to the Angels, the Braves might opt to move him to second base and promote the sure-handed Daniel Castro from Triple-A Gwinnett to serve as their primary shortstop. This arrangement could lead the team to send Jace Peterson to Gwinnett to play on a daily basis.

Aybar, 32, has posted a -14 Defensive Runs Saved mark since 2013.

Daniel Castro could provide the pitching staff a boost with his glove, though he would provide almost nothing at the plate.

At this point, the Braves need to get something -- anything -- out of Aybar. He was never considered a long-term piece for the club, but he was supposed to fill in for a couple of months with steady play before being dealt at the deadline. There's help on the way with Dansby Swanson and Ozhaino Albies, but until then, the Braves have a serious problem up the middle.

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