I was going to provide a rundown of the future at shortstop (SS) for the Boston Red Sox, but after I finished my research, I found out that none of the top six players at this position were hitting over .249 as of Thursday, Aug. 28.
Although Yamaico Navarro did hit .319 in his 23 games at Single A Salem. The scouting report on his defensive ability (from Sox Prospects) said this:
"In the field, he plays 2B, 3B, and SS more than adequately, with a sure glove, an above average arm, and decent fluidity. He has had some problems with executing double plays, but that seems to be improving. Regardless, he's always entertaining to watch, and turns a lot of big league gems with his glove. He has an Ozzie Smith-like electricity in the field."
Plus he was traded to the Reds to reacquire Alex Gonzalez.
Aside from Navarro, Casey Kelly has hit .240 since joining the Single A affiliate in Greenville after pitching the whole first half of his season. Neither the organization nor Kelly himself knows if he will become a pitcher or a SS. So while both sides decide upon how to best use the 2008 first-round pick, the scouting report on his defensive ability (from Sox Prospects) said this:
"Defensively, Kelly has excellent range and shows fluid movements in the field. Great glove and a strong, accurate arm. Has the potential to be an elite defensive player at the major league level."
Therefore, in my opinion, it is in the Red Sox's best interest in the short term to fill this position with either a healthy Jed Lowrie (currently on the DL again), pick up the option on newly acquired Alex Gonzalez, or make a trade for a player better than both of them. A trade may be their best move if they are unsure about Lowrie's ability to bounce back from this injury-plagued season due to the weak field of free agents this offseason.
Thanks to MLB Trade Rumors, we have the list below of free agent SS after this season. The player's age is in parenthesis.
Orlando Cabrera (35)
Alex Cora (34)
Craig Counsell (39)
Bobby Crosby (30)
Adam Everett (33)
Chris Gomez (39)
Alex Gonzalez (32) - $6MM mutual option with a $500K buyout
Khalil Greene (30)
Jerry Hairston Jr. (34)
John McDonald (35)
Marco Scutaro (34)
Miguel Tejada (36)
Omar Vizquel (43)
Jack Wilson (32) - $8.4MM club option with a $600K buyout
The only other desirable option via free agency would seem to be Orlando Cabrera, who is currently with the Twins, but the Sox have already declined to re-sign him once before after the 2004 season. This is still a mystery to most, as Cabrera did play well for them after he was traded on into the playoffs. Then again, they also declined to re-sign Alex Gonzalez after his previous year in Boston too, and here he is again.
What do you, the readers, think they should do at SS for the 2010 season? Let your voice be heard in the comments section below!