Solutions At Short

The Tigers, Cardinals, Rockies and Padres could improve at short and other teams, like the Yankees, have interest in adding a versatile infielder. Here's a look at some shortstops who may be available between now and the end of the month, sorted according to their 2010 salaries:

  • Cristian Guzman, $8MM (free agent after 2010) – Guzman is hitting .294/.343/.369 and has also appeared at second and in right field. He can hit for average and play average defense (according to UZR), but the Nationals would presumably have to eat salary in a trade because there are cheaper options available. Guzman has ten and five rights, so he can veto any deal.
  • Jason Bartlett, $4MM (free agent after 2011) – Reid Brignac and Sean Rodriguez can both play short, so the creative Rays could conceivably trade Bartlett. However, he is hitting .231/.314/.335 and UZR suggests his defense is below average, so teams may not consider him an upgrade.
  • Stephen Drew, $3.4MM (free agent after 2012) – Drew boasts a .275/.348/.416 line and plays solid defense at short (+3.2 UZR this year). The Tigers are interested.
  • Alex Gonzalez, $2.75MM ($2.5MM club option for 2011) – Gonzalez leads all shortstops in homers (Home Run Derby finalist Hanley Ramirez is four shy of Gonzalez's 17) and he has been a sound defender for the Blue Jays. The 33-year-old doesn't get on base much (.296 OBP), but he offers more power than any other available shortstop (.497 slugging percentage). The Blue Jays are open to deals.
  • Cesar Izturis, $2.6MM (free agent after 2010) – Izturis is hitting .239/.286/.283, so teams figure to have limited interest in him.
  • Ryan Theriot, $2.6MM (free agent after 2012) – The Cubs could part with Theriot, who is hitting .278/.317/.313. To date, we haven't seen a clear indication that the Cubs are shopping the 30-year-old, though they would presumably listen to offers.
  • Craig Counsell, $2.1MM (free agent after 2010) – Counsell isn't hitting much (.614 OPS), but he can play short, second and third.
  • Jamey Carroll, $1.05MM ($1.8MM in 2011) – His walk rate is at a career high, and he's playing more shortstop than any other position this year.  He could be too valuable a utility player to move.
  • Yunel Escobar, $435K (free agent after 2013) – Teams are calling about Escobar, though the Braves don't appear to be shopping him. The 27-year-old is still cheap and promising, despite his .238/.334/.284 line this season.
  • Ronny Cedeno and Bobby Crosby could be available; Jhonny Peralta played shortstop for years; Alberto Callaspo has some experience at short and Adam Everett is a free agent.

We examined the market for third basemen and catchers earlier in the week.

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