The Red Sox have been trying to find a long term solution at shortstop ever since the Nomar Garciaparra trade back in 2004, and while the recent pickup of Alex Gonzalez has provided some stability, the team still needs to find a solution for next year and beyond. Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe says that first, the Sox have to decide if "they can afford to carry a light-hitting, great-fielding shortstop or sacrifice a bit of defense to aim for a more balanced lineup."
He presents some possible solutions to their seemingly perpetual shortstop issues, so let's round 'em up...
- Marco Scutaro: The 33-yr old has enjoyed a tremendous season for Toronto (.282/.380/.411), and projects to be a Type-A free agent. He made just $1.1MM this season, and it seems likely that the Blue Jays would offer him arbitration.
- Hanley Ramirez: Cafardo mentions that it still remains to be seen if Hanley can stick at short long term, but there is no question that he's one of the five best players in the game today. Given his team friendly contract that will pay him $64.5MM between now and 2014, the Sox would have to offer a bounty of young talent just to get their foot in the door.
- Miguel Tejada: A projected Type-B free agent this offseason, it seems unlikely that the Astros would offer him arbitration. He could be a one year stopgap at shortstop, and perhaps enjoy an offensive resurgence similar to Mike Lowell thanks to Fenway Park and the Green Monster.
- J.J. Hardy: As Cafardo notes, it "would take a leap of faith to think that his horrid season is an aberration." However, he did hit .280/.333/.470 from 2007-2008, and they'd definitely be buying low.
- Jose Reyes: We've seen plenty of talk that the Mets should trade Reyes, but it remains to be seen if they actually will. Can you imagine Reyes and Jacoby Ellsbury on the bases?
- Troy Tulowitzki: Cafardo admits it's a long shot, but everybody has a price. Considering that Tulo is guaranteed just $29.25MM between now and 2014 and is hitting .283/.363/.526 this year, doesn't it seem like it might be easier to acquire Hanley?
- Cafardo also throws out the names of several other possible options, including Adam Everett, John McDonald, Omar Vizquel, Stephen Drew, and Brandon Wood.
The Red Sox still have Jed Lowrie in-house, but he's missed considerable time this year with wrist problems. It would be a stretch to think that 19-yr old Cuban signee Jose Iglesias could fill in next year, but stranger things have happened. I'll throw the name of one more impending free agent out there: Felipe Lopez. He last played shortstop regularly in 2007, but it's at least worth considering.
Here's the rest of Cafardo's non-Red Sox rumors...
- Ken Griffey Jr. would like to return to Seattle for another year, and "probably can if his price is right." Junior is hitting .218/.325/.393 in 382 plate appearances this year, almost exclusively as a DH.
- The Brewers placed Jeff Suppan on trade waivers last week, and Cafardo says it'll be interesting to see "if any contending team still looking for an experienced starter puts in a claim or tries to make a deal for him." Considering there's still $14.5MM in guaranteed money left on his contract, I'd guess no one puts a claim in.
- Hardy was also placed on trade waivers.
- Free agent pitcher Mark Mulder has decided not to make a comeback this year even though he made progress with his throwing program. He's likely to play winterball though.
- Agent Gregg Clifton says client Tom Glavine is unlikely to attempt a comeback next year, and has started to field calls about broadcasting opportunities.