Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Look at Veteran Shortstop Options

By: Andrew Jaggers
Staff writer/contributor

SS is Cozart's to lose
Mark Sheldon reported via his twitter that the Reds were looking to sign a “veteran SS/INF.” He also reported that the Reds had expressed interest in Ramon Santiago before he agreed to re-sign with the Tigers for a reported 2 year deal and $4 million. That gives us an idea of what the Reds are willing to spend and the caliber of player they are looking to add. Everyone agrees that the starting spot at Shortstop is Zack Cozart’s heading into Spring Training. The player to be added would be a backup first and foremost, but also an insurance policy of sorts if Cozart can not get the job done or gets injured. Almost everyone agrees too that the Edger Renteria era is done in Cincinnati. So lets take a look at some realistic options.

  1. Ceasar Izturis - He is a career .225/.295/.322 hitter. He has won a Gold Glove and at the age of thirty-one probably still has some years left. He made about $1.5 million last year in Baltimore and was limited to a handful of games because of injury. The Orioles have made it clear that they have no intention of bringing him back, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. He has been drawing interest from other teams. Given his injury history and his age the Reds or other teams could sign him at a low amount, or make him an invitee to Spring Training with no guaranteed roster spot. This makes him a low risk, possibly decent reward kind of guy.

  2. Orlando Cabrera – The fan favorite journey man is a free agent again. He is thirty-seven and definitely on the tail end of his career, but the guy is a ball player. He is a career .272/.317/.390 hitter. He made right around a one million last year, and again could be a very low risk addition. The wild card in this addition would be his willingness to return to a team that was not willing to make a long term commitment to him a few years back.

  3. Craig Counsell – The ageless wonder, with the once funny batting stance, was a nice addition last year for the Brewers, a team who was searching for some veteran leadership. It is rumored that several teams are interested in offering him positions in their front offices, but he hopes to play another year. He is forty-one years old and definitely limited in the years remaining with the ability to play at the Major League level, but could fit nicely in the Reds short term plans. Again he is a very low risk addition.
Yes there are much sexier names out there at the shortstop position, but the Reds have their shortstop of the near future (Cozart) and their shortstop of the future (Hamilton). There is no need to go out and spend millions of dollars on a backup. The Reds are looking for an insurance policy, but should not be willing to lack in other areas of need because of this addition. The Reds’ front office could make a safe play for one of these three and not break the bank.

You can follow new staff writer Andrew Jaggers on Twitter at @ajaggers12.


Anonymous said...

What bout Jeff Keppinger? WOrd is the Giants are looking to move him for little return, decent fielder who plays all IF positions and has a good bat...

Anonymous said...

What bout Jeff Keppinger? WOrd is the Giants are looking to move him for little return, decent fielder who plays all IF positions and has a good bat...

RedlegsWriter said...

From what I hear, the Reds weren't big on Jeff Keppinger's skills at SS. He's also probably not washed up enough for the Reds purposes, and he probably won't want to sign in a place where he knows he will start as a backup. The closer it gets to spring though, the more intriguing Keppinger could become, but I wouldn't count on it.

BJ Ruble said...

I would be surprised if they go out and get one. I'm convinced that Cozart wins the job and they will Dusty proof the bench so that he plays. I would like to see Valaika as the backup because his bat is better than Janish and plays all over. Janish will likely be the backup which is good because he makes peanuts and plays outstanding defense. Keppinger is no better at SS than Valaika or Frazier could play it, plus he is older, and he makes more money.