Free Agent Market For Shortstops

As usual, the free agent market for shortstops is barren.  There are no stars, and solid regulars are hard to come by.  The Orioles, Twins, Reds, Astros, Cardinals, Padres, and Giants could be seeking help at the position.  Let's take a look.

Technically A Free Agent

Even after an off-year, 36-year-old Derek Jeter is the top free agent shortstop.  Everyone assumes he'll re-sign with the Yankees.  Will he even receive legitimate offers from other teams?  If something causes Jeter to look elsewhere, it'd shake up the market at this position.

Also Probably Unavailable

The Braves are widely expected to pick up their club option on Alex GonzalezJose Reyes will be back with the Mets, and the Tigers are expected to retain Jhonny Peralta.

Tolerable Regulars

Juan Uribe, Orlando Cabrera ($4MM mutual option), and Cesar Izturis topped 850 innings at shortstop this year.  Only Uribe was useful with the bat.  Uribe has cause to seek a multiyear deal, since he's one of the better free agent choices at both middle infield positions.

One wild card, though he's not technically a free agent, is Hiroyuki Nakajima.  The 28-year-old is expected to be posted by the Seibu Lions after a .314/.385/.511 campaign that included 20 home runs in 579 plate appearances.

Potential Regulars

Edgar Renteria may be pushed to an early retirement, but if healthy he'd still be able to find playing time.  Miguel Tejada, Jerry Hairston Jr., Adam Everett, and Cristian Guzman are not inspiring shortstop options, but they all logged at least 450 innings there this season or last.  Everett is the defensive whiz of the bunch, while Tejada still provides a little offense.

Utility Types

Some of the players listed above will find only utility roles.  Other free agents like Nick Punto ($5MM club option), Craig Counsell, Juan Castro, Bobby Crosby, Julio Lugo, Geoff Blum, and Omar Vizquel will be scrapping for playing time and could sign minor league deals.

Non-Tender Candidates

The non-tender candidates could shake up the market, because they're just as interesting as the regular free agents.  Jason Bartlett, J.J. Hardy, and Ryan Theriot are the big names.  Bartlett is here because he'd be due more than $4MM next year, but given the terrible free agent class and his fine '09 season the Rays would likely find a taker on the trade market if they want to move on.  Hardy is a similar story – most of you expect him to be tendered a contract, but he may be traded.  Theriot is likely to be cut loose by the Dodgers.  He served as the Cubs' main shortstop for three seasons before being supplanted by Starlin Castro this year.


Once again, the free agent market for shortstops is bleak.  Uribe should be popular, and Nakajima plus the non-tenders could provide a boost.

50 Responses to Free Agent Market For Shortstops Leave a Reply

  1. start_wearing_purple 5 years ago

    He’s not technically a “free agent” but it was posted yesterday that Nakajima will be posted.

  2. The_Silver_Stacker 5 years ago

    Derek Jeter playing for another team now thats comical

    • Hey, it could happen. I never thought I’d see the day when Theriot left the Cubs. Mr. Scrappy will always be a Cub to me! The Dodgers would be stupid to non-tender him, he’s the best!

      /end sarcasm

      Anyway yeah, doesn’t seem likely that Jeter goes anywhere else. While anything could happen that’s probably the least likely thing to happen this offseason.

  3. ze3 5 years ago

    Is Miguel Cairo a free agent this offseason? He could be a good pickup like he was for the Reds this year.

    • Slopeboy 5 years ago

      Agree. Cairo is a true Professional. Everywhere he’s gone, he’s done a fine job. can’t play everday anymore but fills in everywhere and hits in the clutch too.

    • He is a FA, hopefully Reds resign him because he did a great job filling in. Reds could use him more to fill in for Rolen more than this past season to keep Rolen fresh the entire year.

  4. wickedkevin 5 years ago

    Start crazy Red Sox rumors now: Jeter to the Sox. Beat that. Oh…and Mariano too.

    • The_Silver_Stacker 5 years ago

      While where at it: Paplebon to the Yankees

      • start_wearing_purple 5 years ago

        Lester for CC?

        • wickedkevin 5 years ago

          Yeah, but the Sox have to pay the remaining salary on Lester.

        • LifeLongYankeeFan 5 years ago

          As a Yankee fan I’d rather Burnett then CC for Lester. Now that’s a fair deal lol.

          • start_wearing_purple 5 years ago

            We’ll agree to take Burnett off your hands as part of a CC for Lester deal… now that’s a big concession.

          • BentoBox 5 years ago

            Only if you take Lackey too.

      • wickedkevin 5 years ago

        With a 10 yr extension for Paps.

        • Red Sox trade for A-Rod and pay the res of his salary… Yes a Yankee fan can partake in crude, sick humor too

          • wickedkevin 5 years ago

            Only if he promises to start juicing again.

  5. As a giants fan, that list is depressing!

    • The_Silver_Stacker 5 years ago

      looks like your giants may need to re-up Uribe

      • Any team that gives $ 18 million to Edgar Rentashortstop is liable to do anything. Uribe is actually one of the better options on the market this winter.

        • AmericanMovieFan 5 years ago

          But for how much? I don’t think anybody should go over $6MM per year for Uribe on the open market. But given he’s proved himself as a Giant, I think, assuming he doesn’t allow for a hometown discount, he’ll ask for at least 2 years/$15MM. Is he worth that? I honestly don’t know. He could be or he couldn’t be. It’s a toss up.

  6. johnsilver 5 years ago

    Buyers market IMO on what you would get for price vs value is Bartlet. He is a hard nosed player and capable of putting up better offensive numbers of anyone on that list outside of jeter at far less cost. Uribe has 2 step range at SS with his pretty decent bat, so not sure why he needs to be there, though he can technically play the position still.

    • The_Porcupine 5 years ago

      Bartlett is the only player on that list that is worth pursuing. Good defense, can offer some offensive support, relatively cheap option compared to what is available. I might be willing to take a chance on Hardy to see if he can get back his power stroke and stay healthy, but I’m not very confident in it.

      • derekbellstutu 5 years ago

        Bartlett’s $4M price tag and the emergence of Reid Brignac will probably lead to the Rays dealing Bartlett. The Pirates should look into acquiring Bartlett if the Rays are willing to make amends for the damaged goods (Akinori Iwamura) they sold the Pirates last year :) Or better yet, maybe the Twins will add Hardy in a deal w/ Scott Baker for a trio of Pirates farmhands. Baker & Hardy for Rudy Owens, Gorkys Hernandez, and Diego Moreno could get it done.

    • yigantee 5 years ago

      Curious as to what value Bartlett has. TB is trying to cut payroll, so do they want cheap ML ers or prospects?

      As a Giants fan, Ithink Bartlett might be a fit – is Runzler & Ray as BP arms too much, too little or just right?

  7. There isn’t a single player on that free agent list that I would want on my team.
    Jeter is the most over rated player in the history of mankind, IMO, and the Yanks will probably give him a sick amount of money because of his “brand”. I thought that the Tigers may talk to the Rays about Bartlett, but it looks like they will stand pat and bring back Peralta. Just hope he’s the player that seemed to get a new lease on life when he came to the Tigers, rather than the sorry player he was that caused the Indians to give him away with enough money to pay his salary.

    • start_wearing_purple 5 years ago

      While I personally think his glove has been incredibly overrated for years and as much as it pains me to say this as a Red Sox fan, Jeter’s ability to play is not overrated. He’s been one of the best contact hitters in the game who’s not named Ichiro and unlike Ichiro has displayed power. Barring injury, he will pass the 3,000 hit mark some time next year which will make him a virtual lock for the Hall.

      • No doubt that Jeter goes into the HOF, probably on the first ballot. But that doesn’t make him worth what the Yanks are paying him. I’d like to see what offers he would get by testing the waters, just for kicks. No doubt that he’ll get far more money in New York than he’d get anywhere else. He’s an icon there, and any perception of not keeping the red carpet rolled out wherever he walks would not be well taken by NY fans. He is the best of a bad lot this off season, but that’s not saying much with this group of free agents. Even his contact pct is down to 85 % this season. He’s in decline. The more money they give him, and the longer his contract, the better for all the rest of us.

        • start_wearing_purple 5 years ago

          I never thought he was worth his original contract. He was a contact hitting short stop who got a contract during a time when contracts started going insane. The 2001 off season saw 4 players signing contracts that could have individual broken the record for how much a player was paid. Of those contracts, one was just plain stupid (Hampton), one was to the player who was the best in the game (Arod), one was to an under 30 home run hitter (Manny), and the last was Jeter who wasn’t even a free agent. I’m willing to bet no team would have offered Jeter anything close to that amount had he hit the open market.That said, Jeter will again not hit the open market. Even if he ends up filing for free agency my bet is he doesn’t even start listening to other offers until hell freezes over and both sides walk away. Again, he’ll sign a ridiculous contract when you take into account he is getting old and declining. However this time the yanks have a better reason, loyalty and leadership bonus. It’s not like the yanks are hard up on cash and can’t throw money to a guy who’s been the face of their dynasty.

          • I agree completely with that comment. See, there’s dollars, and there’s Yankee dollars. The difference is not just that the Yanks HAVE more money to spend, but that a star player’s “brand” is worth that much more to them than he’d be worth in any other market. They’ll get a deal done, and it will be for more money and more years than his raw stats can possibly justify. But I can not see Derek Jeter in any uniform other than the pinstripes.

          • start_wearing_purple 5 years ago

            Yeah, that’s exactly it… they’re not signing a shortstop, they’re signing an icon who just happens to play shortstop.

  8. $3977112 5 years ago

    Only the Yankees are crazy enough to pay Jeter more than $10 million per year.

    • Slopeboy 5 years ago

      The Yankees will not pay Jeter as a player. They will pay him as the icon he has become. Don’t be surprised if receives the same salary, only the contract years will be short. The Yankees want to get younger and more athletic, at every position. Jeter is a special case as far as money goes, but the Yankees will not keep him on the field if he can’t do the job anymore. I see him re-signing at big money for a short time.

      • AmericanMovieFan 5 years ago

        Same. I see him signing for BIG money and very little time. Like 2 years/$40-50MM for his swan song. OR he’ll get little money upfront [like 2 years/$20MM) and an ownership stake in the Yanks with the understanding that he’d segue into administrative work after the playing contract was up with the idea that he might one day manage the club. That seems a lot more plausible than one might think.

  9. markjsunz 5 years ago

    The dodgers took on Ryan Theriot for Blake Dewitt who was turning into a solid hitter and solid second baseman at the positon. Plus they got Ted Lilly and again a young under control major league talent is traded for a few months of the other team paying the salary of the players sent to the Dodgers. McCourt sells his player who he sees as assets. gets the use of the vetern playing for free for six weeks or so.

  10. Guest 5 years ago

    The assumption is that the Giants will re-up with Uribe for SS, but it’s just as likely they sign Uribe for 3B and then fill the SS position from the system or through FA. It’s no certainty that Sandoval gets 3B next year.

  11. Nakajima is the wild card in all of this. And since he’s coming over in his prime years, he’s got a pretty decent shot of being successful in MLB.

  12. Muggi 5 years ago

    What’s the story on Wilson Valdez? He was signed as a minor-league FA, dunno what that does to his status next season…team-controlled? FA? 1yr of MLB service.

    He’s far from ideal, but after what he did for the Phils this season I think he’s shown he can fit in the Utility category. I fully expect the Phils to try and resign him though.

    • Hermie13 5 years ago

      Valdez is still under team control for a while. You need 6 full ML seasons to be a free agent regardless of how you’re signed, unless you’re a Japanese free agent who gets something special put into your contract (like Iwamura for example).

  13. inkstainedscribe 5 years ago

    I’m not turning cartwheels over the prospect of seeing Alex Gonzalez play another 140+ games at SS for Atlanta. Unless Brandon Hicks or Diory Hernandez shocks people this winter, guess we’re stuck with AGon. (At least Yunel didn’t tear up the American League …)

  14. Hermie13 5 years ago

    I know the Tigers have hinted at bringing back Peralta…..but they shouldn’t pick up his option. I mean, I’m a huge Peralta fan…..but don’t get this love the Tigers have for him.

    Peralta has basically been Andy Marte with the bat this year and last. Even his “good” stint with Detroit wasn’t very good. A .710 OPS? For $7M?

    Still say the smart thing would be to decline his option and offer arbitration. Worst case (or best case?) he declines and leaves…..Tigers would then get a 1st round sandwich pick for him. They will have paid Soto (A-ball prospect) and the $250K buyout to get that pick……that’s a win for the Tigers.

    Best case? He accepts arbitration. He only made $4.6M this year. Even if you give him a 30% raise (pretty big considering how bad he’s been)….you’re only talking $6.2M for 2011. Add in the buyout and you’re still only talking $6.35M…..or less than the $7M option.

    Tigers were be crazy to pick up that option IMO.

  15. theyankeefanatic 5 years ago

    as a Yankee fan i am very disturb at the fact the Yankees will be bringing back Jeter without exploring a trade…if the Yankees are serious about competing for a World Series they would put together a nice trade package for one of the top short stops in the game…Jeter is not worth whatever they are going to offer him (15 to 25 mill?)…they should only offer him a little more than what the market dictates(5.5 to 7.5 mill) and they should go year to year with Jeter maybe offering him mutal or club options….they already made the biggest mistake in baseball with Arod’s contract…so the Yankees shouldn’t compound the problem by signing Jetr to a multi year deal…the AL East is becoming even more competitive and if sentimentality rules out over the philosophy of winning it may cause the Yankees not only a WS drout but possibly may cause the Yankees to not make the playoffs…maybe not in 2011…but in the following seasons with Arod and Jeter in decline this could be central to the Yankees downfall especially if one factors in Mo Rivera possibly getting a multi year deal and his eventual decline…

  16. theyankeefanatic 5 years ago

    it’s crazy…even though Johnny Damon and Hedeki Matsui out performed Jeter in there final year and they have put up comparble numbers with him this year…noone is talking about it…i don’t understand why Jeter will get a multi year deal or a big money contract…sports is what you can do not what you did which he was over paid for in the first place…why wouldn’t the yankees make a trade offer like Curtis Granderson and (ss) Eduardo Rmirez for Stephen Drew or Hanely Ramirez…maybe throwing in Ivan Nova for Hanley…even if they had to pick up Carl Crawford for 20 mill to fill Granderson role…if they got Stephen Drew and Crawford it would still be for less than what they paid Jeter this year 21mill and what they’ll pay Granderson next year 8.25 mill…Drew’s arbitration should only net him about 5 to 5.5 mill…and the Yankees would be better at both positions…this makes more sense than signing jeter…unless they make him a super utility guy who DH’s….and for that they shouldn’t pay him more than 7 mill…

    • Just… Shut up… As if I hear enough trade renarks from bandwagon fans… Derek Jeter will be paid for being an icon. If he has another amazing season, then his legacy is pretty much Top 15 in sports history. While I do agree trying to trade for a good shortstop to take Jete’s place, Hanley is going way out of proportion. The Yanks need to draft some good shortstops, I’ve heard enough about how Damon Oppenheimer found a gem in Cito Culver…

      • theyankeefanatic 5 years ago

        Excuse me…Derek Jeter is going to be 37 next season and although he may have a better season next year than half the ss in the league that doesn’t mean it will be a good season especially for a top of the order hitter…i do not believe he has anymore amazing seasons left in the tank(just dealing with the law of averages for aging players)…but right now the Yankees have a ss in Eduardo Nunez that could do as well as your average ss in the league which is admittedly pretty weak…but if he were put in a package with Curtis Granderson then getting Hanley Ramirez might be possible especially if starting pitcher Ivan Nova was put in the deal…as far as the Yankees drafting a good enough ss to take jeter’s place…i doubt seriously if they can find someone even close to his skill level when he was in his prime and by the time he is found and developed jeter should be well out of the game or at least more of a bench player by that time…and i never mention Damon Oppenheimer or Cito Culver…but i did mention Jonny Damon and Hedeki Matsui…and what i said is both players had better seasons than Jeter did in their last year with the team than he had this year…but the Yankees easily walked away from them…they imposed a money and contract time limit on Damon in particular…and i assumed it was because they wanted to get younger and although both players were good the Yankees assumed both would decline in skill and both could suffer injuries in their advancing age…but in looking at both of their offensive outputs in 2010 in comparison to Jeter…he didn’t do that much better than they did…but Matsui only recieved 6 mill and Damon only 9 mill…so why give Jeter maybe 20 mill and more than a year or 2 at best…granted Damon and Matsui almost exclusively DHed…but if the Yankees traded for Stephen Drew or Hanley Ramirez…they could offer Jeter a contract to be a superutility guy who DH’s…in that way getting him a fair amount of playing time all be it in a new role…but it would allow him to get maybe 500 at bats and 3000 hits as a yankee…while allowing the Yankees to put a better team on the field than the one that features him as the starting ss who hits at the top of the order…if it were any other team and they had the chips to make a trade for a better ss than jeter they would…considering his age and contract demands…especially since the Blue Jays and Orioles will improve next season and take some wins away from the other AL East teams…one question for all the Yankee fans out there who want to see Jeter retire as a Yankee…what happens when he becomes a liability at 20 mill a year do the Yankees keep him on the field and what happens if Arod is hurt in that same year or it’s both of them out with injuries and what if that happens to Mo Rivera as well…these are real possibilities when dealing with players as old as those 3 are…and next year they have to deal with this same issue with Posada and maybe Pettitte…it’s risky and it could be very costly…in terms of wins and money…this seems insane even for a team that has rediculous money to burn…but those cost do get passed on to the fan so is that fair…as a fan i want the Yankees to put the best players they can get on the field…not the most liked or marketable…the Yankees don’t need Jeter to sell tickets or their logo…winning in N.Y.C. does that and the Yanks have enough star power on the roster not to miss a beat in terms of brand hype if Jeter’s role is reduce or if he were released…winning will sell tickets hats tee shirts and jackets but losing will empty seats and tune out tv watchers…and will all the insane Yankee fans still be buying tickets to see an old Jeter and Arod…two DH’s for 40 million plus dollars…ok give the already over paid Jeter whatever he wants for as long as he wants to seem him retire a yankee…

        • I don’t know why you would want to trade Granderson… He’s had a monster last quarter of the season, and finished the last 11 games with 7 HR. If we also didn’t have him, we wouldn’t have won in the ALDS against the Twins so c’mon now. There’s also no need to write a novel on how you want to trade Jeter, IMO.

          • Hermie13 5 years ago

            Even without Grandy, the Yanks win that series agains the Twins. Agree though, don’t see why you’d trade him.

  17. theyankeefanatic 5 years ago

    People are not reading whats written…Nobody said anything about trading Jeter…he can not be traded…i said trade for another ss who is now better than him…and the fact that Granderson is a good player doesn’t nullify a reason to not trade him…in fact it makes it easier to trade him for the player desired…it might mean Granderson for stephen drew straight up…and the reason he would be traded is because he has no trade protection and he has a reasonable contract and it has multiple years…and there is someone hitting free agency who is considered a better player than him in his postion(Carl Crawford)…and if one was to truely read my entries i think they would conclude my opinion is sound…

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