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Theriot and Tejada! Get your subpar shortstops while they're hot!

Big League Stew

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The baseball world woke up on Tuesday morning and immediately started asking questions about why the Colorado Rockies would hand Troy Tulowitzki(notes) a six-year contract extension four years ahead of time. I tried my hand at a reasoned explanation, but it wasn't until the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants sprung into action at night that we finally saw a clear cause for Dan O'Dowd's $119 million bear hug of his prized infielder.

The reason you lock up Tulowitzki at shortstop for the next 10 years is that there might come a day like Tuesday, when the Cardinals traded to get Ryan Theriot(notes) from the Los Angeles Dodgers (who were about to non-tender him on Thursday) and the world champion Giants signed elderly shortstop Miguel Tejada(notes) — he'll be 37 in May — to a one-year deal worth $6.5 million to replace their elderly shortstop (and World Series hero) Edgar Renteria(notes).

Both were signings you'd likely expect during the panicked second week of February, not the last day of November. But a good shortstop will be hard to find this winter and if both presumed contenders don't figure out how to trade for Jason Bartlett(notes) — or take in a discounted, revenge-seeking exile like Derek Jeter(notes) — they're looking at the most important position in their infields being staffed by players who really shouldn't be anyone's everyday option there. (Yes, that evil laugh you heard is coming from one muahahahaing Cubs fan.)

So, which would you rather be doing right now: Worrying about overcommitting to a guy who'd be a top-10 pick if we blew up the MLB and redrafted each franchise? Or wondering if you can talk yourself into the idea that Theriot is the next coming of David Eckstein?

That Tulo deal makes a little more sense when you look at it that way.

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