This is the latest installment in our Market Snapshot series. We’re crossing to the left side of the infield after recently running through the many options at second.
Teams In Need
The most obvious potential buyers at the shortstop position are the Phillies and Brewers. Both of these National League contenders have former top prospects available at the position, but thus far they haven’t really panned out.
There’s a clear opening at the position for the Padres and Tigers, but it’s far from evident that either team will make a significant acquisition. For the San Diego organization, it wouldn’t be surprising if they seek another gap-filler while waiting for top prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. to finish his development. In Detroit, there’s perhaps an argument to be made for opportunism, especially if the club finds a chance to pick up a relatively youthful player for an appealing price tag.
It’s at least be arguable that the Diamondbacks ought to look to improve at shortstop (or, alternatively, second base), but that may not prove worthwhile if the organization decides on a sell-off. Likewise, the Marlins and Orioles could certainly stand to improve at the position but no doubt won’t be aggressively paying for near-term improvement.
The Yankees will at least need to bolster their depth to open the season following the announcement of Tommy John surgery for Didi Gregorius. Whether that opens the door for a bigger move remains to be seen. Corey Seager will have had much more time to recover from his own TJS, so there’s not much reason to think the Dodgers have a real need at the position.
Though the White Sox got improved glovework from Tim Anderson, and are committed to him through an extension, perhaps there’s still room for a move there. There’s greater cause to seek improvement in Oakland, given the team’s competitive outlook, though there’s less of a case for bumping Marcus Semien after a solid overall campaign driven by his own strides on defense. Teams like the Braves and Pirates have existing options but perhaps shouldn’t be ruled out entirely from the market.
Likely Regulars: Manny Machado is obviously the prize on the infield market this winter. It remains to be seen whether he’ll insist on playing short — and, if so, how that’ll impact demand. On the off chance that Elvis Andrus opts out of his deal with the Rangers, he’d surely be able to secure a regular job even in spite of a tough season. Otherwise, it’s difficult to see any other market entrants as truly everyday players in 2019.
Timeshare/Utility/Reserve Options: That’s not to say that there aren’t some other free agents who have been regulars in the not-so-distant past. Jordy Mercer, Jose Iglesias, Freddy Galvis, and even Alcides Escobar have racked up quite a few plate appearances in recent seasons. It wouldn’t be terribly surprising for one or more of those glove-first players to see action in 120+ games in 2019, though that’ll likely occur with a second-division club. A slate of other players — Asdrubal Cabrera, Eduardo Escobar, Marwin Gonzalez, and Jed Lowrie — will reach the open market with much more impressive hitting resumes. In each case, though, it would rate as a surprise if they were tasked primarily with playing short rather than other spots on the infield.
Depth/Bounceback Options: Pete Kozma, Dixon Machado, Cliff Pennington, Jose Reyes, Eric Sogard
The Blue Jays have an interesting mix of solid/youthful (Aledmys Diaz, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Richard Urena), injury-plagued/aging (Troy Tulowitzki), and fast-rising/unproven (Bo Bichette) options on hand. Whether they’ll choose to deal from this group, which could also fan out across the Toronto infield and farm system, remains to be seen. The Phillies could elect to part with J.P. Crawford or Scott Kingery, depending upon how they tackle an interesting upcoming offseason. There’s also some potential extra depth in Texas, though the Andrus contract (4/$58MM with opt-out) isn’t a positive-value asset and the Rangers have plenty of ways to find playing time for Jurickson Profar.
Meanwhile, the Cubs have yet to figure out what to do with Addison Russell, who’ll sit out the first month or so of the 2019 season owing to a suspension under the league’s domestic violence policy. He’s projected to earn $4.3MM and is coming off of his worst season at the plate. If the Chicago organization decides it’s time to move on, other clubs that like Russell as a player will have to contemplate his suspension as well as the allegations of emotional and physical abuse that led to it.
Cardinals could definitely be looking for a shortstop. DeJong could slide to 3B to improve the infield defense, which is a huge need.
He doesn’t have the bat for third.
He’s a power/RBI bat. One could argue he’s far more a 3B than a SS. He’s actually played more 3B than SS in his pro career. Place him and Machado on the same left side and you might have a pretty good defense. If Machado has any range “issues”, DeJong could help by being able to cover more ground.
I don’t think machado’s happening unfortunately, haha. But I could see Jose Iglesias push DeJong to third and create a very good infield defense or a trade for someone like Andrelton Simmons. However, the most likely option to me is keeping DeJong at short and signing Donaldson to man third.
This is one of those silly phrases that has been used so much, but has no substance.
Phillies should be listed as a team in need.
Literally the first team listed
Lol, some just come to post without reading
Seriously. I’m stunned the Brewers weren’t listed.
The Brewers weren’t listed because everyone knows they are closing up shop to make $71 an hour with Michele to pick up that new Acura.
When I posted last night, the first paragraph under “Teams in Need” was about the Padres and Tigers. MLBTR had omitted the first paragraph and they quickly corrected it.
Phillies should be listed as a team in need.
They are in the first sentence!
Has anyone mentioned that the Phillies should be listed?
I’ve been giving it a lot of thought, but I still can’t think of a reason they weren’t listed.
They mention the blue jays and even the Yankees. What about the Phillies?
They mention the Phillies, but why aren’t the Phillies mentioned?! The Phillies need help more than the Phillies!
I think the Blue Jays would take a bag of used balls for Tulowitzki if they could find someone to take that awful contract. That isn’t likely. Still, Tulo needs to go one way or another. The Jays cannot have him there blocking Gurriel & Bichette.
You can’t block people when you are on the DL.
True, but on the odd chance that he is actually playing, the Jays can’t have him in the mix. Eat the contract if you have to. The Jays are in a rebuild. Tulo isn’t part of that
Yanks will be heavily involved with Machado, Corbin, Harper,D Murphy, and the Japanese Lefty Kikuchi. But in order to do this they will have to deal Stanton and Stanton would have to waive to go to the Dodgers. Otherwise Harper is out even though they need left handed hitters. We also need a defense first preferably left handed batting catcher like Avila in Arizona. Maybe a Sonny Gray and Elsbury for Grienke and Avila?
Ariazona would never do that. No one is taking on Ellsbury. And it won’t be easy to trade Stanton. Yanks should have never took him on. They are staying with Sanchez so you can forget about the left handed catcher. They need more situational hitters, left handed, and hitters hat can bat over 290. And what is the plan with Andujar? Staying at 3b? Maybe Didi gets traded to sign Machado. I didn’t think of Daniel Murphy but he might be a good fit. Left handed, and very versatile.
Don’t listen to that guy bruh…he crazy as hellz
The left handed batting defense first catcher is the back up not starter.
I disagree with you that Arizona won’t trade a 35yo pitcher with close to 100 million left on contract for Sonny Gray who is 28yo with an entry level contract pretty much and one year left and a Elsbury who owed 40 million!
Grienke is well paid but still useful
therefore the Yankees would have to give up at least 1 useful player in return, that’s just basic logic….
Useful? Sonny Gray in the NL st his age pitching for s big contract is extremely useful! Grienke will be 36!
First they don’t need to trade Stanton to go after Harper. They would just not resign Gardy. They would go with a Harper/Stanton/Judge rotation in LF, RF, DH. Second I don’t c them going after Machado with Andujar on the cheap and he played realllly well this year. Third y do they need Murphy? They have Torres, DiDi and a lot of young dudes that play up the middle. And LASTLY I agree they will b in on Corbin.
Let’s b honest tho. It was the starting pitching that crapped the bed. The offense was fine. Except at first base.
Murphy is that left handed situational hitter we haven’t had that can play some first, 2nd, and 3rd! Also DH.
Keeping Stanton and signing Harper is overkill and not worth it overall especially when we will have to sign Judge in a few years to a long contract.
Aren’t you Blake Rutherford’s #1 fan?
Like Rutherford potential but no!
Yea, you were the guy that was so against the Yankees trading him, and talking up how great their prospects were.
How was Rutherford’s year? I didn’t follow him this year.
Yes against trading prospects if they weren’t ready! They are ready. Weren’t you that other guy? You know the guy that……
Actually, there’s a pretty informative article on Fangraphs from Friday detailing how the Yankees are in great financial shape this offseason, with something like 60-80 million to spend . They could get Harper, Corbin and probably another good piece for that kind of money.
Stanton is the Yanks Harper. They didnt give up much for him. Contract will fit within their budget easily.
Will be very interesting to see if the Cubs tender Russell a contract.
He’s still young, but has never really seemed to progress.
I’m sure lots of teams would love to take a chance on the talent if it didn’t come with the alleged domestic violence incident. With it, I’m not sure.
Machado to Detroit sort of makes sense. The Tigers are finally paring the Victor Martinez contract, are in a fairly weak division, and have enough committed to players they can’t move (Miggy, Zimmerman) that they as well not attempt a full scale rebuild. It won’t take 3-5 years to be competitive in the AL Central. It would take a bit of creativity and would be a gamble, but I think it would be a worthwhile one.
The best part is when you called the al central fairly weak. There are high school teams that can contend in that division
I assume you mean Dixon Machado… Manny will never, EVER sign with Detroit and conversely The Tigers will never, EVER, give another 200-300 M contract. Take that to the bank.
First, Signing a 26 yr old when you are a rebuilding team in need of a draw makes sense. Second, Manny will sign where the money is, be it from New York, Detroit, or Tampa Bay. Third, playing in the Central Division makes the rebuild less daunting then many. Finally, nothing has shown that the Illitches will be unwilling to spend, if it makes sense. All that being said, I personally don’t see the team being ready to make that type of move yet.
Hmm, how about a trade of Tulowitzki to the Yankees and the Jays receive Ellsbury? Yanks need a SS for the early part of the year; the Jays need an OF; both have crappy contracts. Why not?
Elsbury has no trade and may go to Arizona because he lives there and San Fran because he’s said so in past. Not Toronto.
Elsbury owed 40 mill so I can’t see Yanks taking on awful contract when they can just cut him.
Two good points
I say if Jay’s will cover most of Tulos contract go ahead and send him to Milwaukee that or just sign Alcides Escobar again since it seems like everybody from Greinke trade has been coming back to Milwaukee lol
Ellsbury makes a bit more, don’t think the Jays want to take more salary on to deal Tulo. They’ll probably take their chances with the current contract.
It’s interesting; I know Ellsbury missed all season after hip surgery, but I looked up his 2017 for the Yanks and he wasn’t as bad as I remembered and as bad as Yankees fans seem to think. He was a roughly league-average hitter and stole 22 bases in 25 tries while playing average defense in center. His defense in 2016, strangely, rated out very well also. Yes, he’s not worth that contract, but that’s sort of what happens with a lot of FA contracts; players are woefully underpaid early and then overpaid late – I mean, E;ls was worth 8.3 WAR in his age-27 season, when he made just 2.4 million dollars. (2011). Talk about serious surplus value!
Anyway, I think if the surgery was successful and he can just return to 2017 levels he’s a decent fourth outfielder/pinch-runner who could also be a lefty bat off the bench – that feels like a solid fit for an NL team; yeah, the Yanks would have to eat most of the contract but if they even got a lottery-pick prospect or a solid reliever they should explore it. He’s a sunk cost if he’s good or never returns and he has no real place on the Yankees’ current roster with Gardbner and Hicks both providing superior play in center.
imagine the headlines, _______ team signs machado to play short. dixon machado
I want royalties for that comment…
You get 15% of the internet points anytime troll posts it in the future.
Never heard of Dixon Machado but I’m picturing the back of the NY tabloids with a Machado signing headline only to open the pages and find out the Mets’ signed Dixon to a minor league deal.