Here are some very preliminary 2014 shortstop rankings for your perusal. Try not to take the lists all too seriously; I haven't actually done projections for any of these players and many, many changes will be in store for the first official rankings in January.
These aren't true keeper rankings, since only the 2014 season is being taken into consideration here. But if you're looking to make trades in keeper leagues in the coming weeks, I hope this piece will help you along.
2014 Shortstop Rankings
- Several high-profile teams will have decisions to make at shortstop this winter:
Yankees: Jeter has a $9.5 million player option for next year that includes a $3 million payout if he declines it. I'm assuming he's back with the Yankees one way or another, but is he really a realistic option as a starting shortstop at age 40? The final two months will be telling.
Red Sox: Iglesias' emergence this season will allow the Red Sox to let Drew depart in free agency. However, Bogaerts could quickly push Iglesias if Iglesias reverts to previous form offensively.
Dodgers: How much longer does it really make sense to stick with Hanley as a shortstop, especially with third base sitting there as a glaring hole going forward? Of course, it'd be a lot easier to make the switch if Gordon didn't look so clueless sometimes.
Mets: Tejeda was a major bust this year, but is still just 23 years old. On the other hand, his ceiling is pretty limited. Does it make sense to spend for an upgrade in what will likely be another losing season? I'm skeptical.
Tigers: Peralta is a free agent and the Tigers could really use someone with more range playing next to Miguel Cabrera at third base.
Cardinals: Kozma, Descalso and Ryan Jackson all appear to be fringe regulars at best. On the other hand, they're cheap and it's possible to cobble together an adequate SS situation from the group, preserving money to be spent elsewhere.
- There are also a few big wild cards that could make the mix a lot more interesting:
Orioles: Manny Machado is overqualified to play third base and Hardy, who is as good of a bet for 2014 as any free agent shortstop on the market, could bring back a nice piece in a trade. But do the Orioles want to mess with what's working?
Cubs: The Cubs committed $60 million to Castro last year, but he's been a terribly frustrating player ever since, and now it looks like their No. 1 prospect, Javier Baez, may forgo the anticipated move to third base and stick at shortstop. The Cubs can't give Castro away, but if someone steps up with a quality offer, they'll have to consider it. Since Baez probably won't be ready until 2015 anyway, the Cubs don't need to rush into anything.
Indians: It'd probably be best for the Indians' chances in 2014 if they stick with Asdrubal as their shortstop and let him walk as a free agent at season's end, making room for Lindor, but if someone steps up and offers two choice prospects, it'll be tough to resist. Lindor might be ready early next season anyway. He's still a ways off offensively, but his defense could make him a decent regular right away.
- Other teams that could be in the market for shortstops include the Rays, A's, Mariners, Pirates and Astros. The Rays will probably pick up Escobar's $5 million option. The A's (Lowrie) and Mariners (Miller) both have to decide if their current shortstops wouldn't be more valuable at easier positions.
|3||Jose Reyes||Blue Jays||2||4|
|14||Alexei Ramirez||White Sox||13||17|
|20||Xander Bogaerts||Red Sox||102||NR|
|26||Jose Iglesias||Red Sox||93||31|
|35||Pedro Florimon Jr.||Twins||60||40|
|37||Maicer Izturis||Blue Jays||30||33|