The Twins, Phillies, Braves, Mets, Brewers, Cardinals, Pirates, Astros and Giants are likely to express interest in shortstops this offseason and other clubs may become involved as well. Here's a look at an unusually strong market for shortstops.
Starting Shortstops Available In Free Agency
Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins are the top shortstops available. Reyes has a case for a nine-figure contract and Rollins wants a five-year deal. The options for Rafael Furcal, Yuniesky Betancourt will likely be declined, making them free agents, but Marco Scutaro probably won't hit the open market and it's too early to call Ronny Cedeno's option. Clint Barmes, Jamey Carroll and Alex Gonzalez are also capable of handling an everyday shortstop job.
Willie Bloomquist, Jerry Hairston Jr., Ramon Santiago, John McDonald, Orlando Cabrera, Craig Counsell, Cesar Izturis, Edgar Renteria and Jack Wilson are utility and backup types to consider. Some could draw interest as second basemen.
Ryan Theriot, Mike Fontenot, Emmanuel Burriss, Chris Getz, Adam Rosales, Luis Rodriguez, Donnie Murphy, Alberto Gonzalez, Wilson Valdez, Brandon Wood, Mike Aviles and Paul Janish could all be non-tendered this offseason. They're also trade canidates leading up to the December deadline for teams to tender contracts to their arbitration eligible players.
Thinking Outside The Box
Players are converted from shortstop, not to shortstop, so don't expect that slugging left fielder to solve your team's middle infield woes. The vast majority of realistic shortstop options already play the position, which means there's not much mystery here.
Patient teams could wait until the big names have been signed and inquire on players or prospects who have been pushed down on the depth chart. For example, slick-fielding prospect Brandon Crawford could be available if the Giants sign a shortstop or Ian Desmond could be available if the Nationals obtain a more established player.
Other Trade Candidates
Jed Lowrie will likely be a bench player for the Red Sox and could be moved. Teams could inquire on Sean Rodriguez or Reid Brignac of the Rays. Yet another AL East shortstop, Eduardo Nunez, could also be available. The same goes for Jason Bartlett of the Padres.