With last week's news that Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Stephen Drew will likely start the 2012 regular season on the disabled list, the club is left with the precarious question of how to field Drew's replacement.
Though Drew has not played this spring and will not be available on Opening Day, the news is hardly new for Arizona, which has had to cope with filling Drew's shortstop position since his July 20 broken ankle injury.
By the end of 2011's regular season, Drew's starting responsibilities had been taken over by Willie Bloomquist (56 games), John McDonald (15 games) and Cody Ransom (four starts). Drew appeared in 86 games last season.
Thanks to Bloomquist's re-signing this offseason, the Diamondbacks have been able to pencil the veteran into the starting shortstop spot 13 times this spring out of 19 games played (including six split-squad contests).
Nonetheless, Bloomquist at shortstop was never intended to be a long-term solution: The D-Backs certainly hadn't anticipated Drew's prolonged injury.
Though it is not entirely clear when Drew will return, if the Diamondbacks get tired of waiting, they can talk to their fellow Cactus Leaguers, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, who are going through a similar situation with first baseman Kendrys Morales.
Though Morales' injury has extended to the 22-month mark while Drew has just wrapped up Month No. 8, the similarities are striking: A talented and touted fielder suffers a devastating injury and is replaced by a cast of veterans, minor leaguers and fill-ins.
The Angels finally grew so impatient while waiting for Morales to return that their new GM Jerry Dipoto—formerly of the D-Backs—went out and brought back A-lister Albert Pujols, proving once and for all that any team can secure just about any player.
If the D-Backs do develop that SoCal mindset, here are several shortstops they could acquire via trade or free agency to replace Stephen Drew.