Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Cardinals Off-Season Shortstop Options 2.0

Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Two days ago I presented a couple of the St. Louis Cardinals’ possible options at shortstop next year.  After offering a poll with some of those options, I was surprised by the results.

Jhonny Peralta had seven votes, Yunel Escobar and Hanley Ramirez each had six, and former trade-rumor Alexei Ramirez received five.

None of those things surprised me: I’d supported Peralta, Escobar was the most interesting/cheapest option, Hanley Ramirez was the best shortstop on the list, and Alexei Ramirez had already been identified as a possibility in earlier rumors.

What did surprise me was the nineteen votes, 37%, for the “other” option.

Why was I surprised? Because I was pretty sure that there weren’t any better options out there.

But you, my beloved readers, clearly do. So after doing a bit more research, I have found three other possible options for the Cardinals. Instead of looking at batting averages, I turned to fWAR. These are the only three shortstop in all of baseball I had not considered in my prior article who have a 1.0 WAR or greater. I’m not convinced that they’re better options, but I’m obligated to give you what you want, and you want “other” options! So here they are!

First up, J.J. Hardy. He’s owed 7 million dollars from the Orioles in 2014, and he has played very well for Baltimore this year. He’s showed some pop (25 home runs so far) and played solid defense. The only problem with Hardy is the fact that he plays for Baltimore. The Orioles are contenders, and, even they don’t win this year, they probably aren’t going to be terribly inclined to give up a piece that could help them win next year.

The next option is Stephen Drew, the Boston Red Sox current shortstop. He’s set to be a free agent this off-season, and has played reasonably well this season. His batting average is unimpressive, but he has 42 extra base hits. His defense isn’t the best, and he’s probably set to make about 10 million dollars next year due to the dearth of shortstops on the market. In addition, the Red Sox might want him back. It’s possible that they’ll be too busy pursuing Jacoby Ellsbury, but we’ll have to see how that plays out.

Nick Punto, much like Drew, is a free agent this coming year. He is the least impressive shortstop option by far, but he will also probably be the cheapest. With some other decent shortstop options available next off-season and the possibility of a mid-season upgrade should the Rays (Yunel Escobar), the Orioles (J.J. Hardy), or the Dodgers (Hanley Ramirez) be out of their respective playoff races, Punto could be a viable short-term option for the Cardinals. At the very least, Punto should guarantee that the Cardinals’ shortstop isn’t hitting under .200 in the month of August.

Again, I present to you a poll. This time, however, I have a request: if you answer “other,” leave a comment telling me who! I’m intrigued and want to hear your thoughts. Honestly, I’d love it if I was wrong and the Cards have better options.

So let me know what you think, who should the Cardinals go after this off-season?

Which shortstop should the Cardinals pursue this off-season (again)?

View Results

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Tags: Shortstop St Louis Cardinals

  • mrlyngreen

    Jhonny Peralta is an admitted PED user. He is not an option that would sit well with Bill DeWitt who is pretty much a stickler for high character players. Both Yunel Escobar and Hanley Ramirez are good choices, but again, as a practical matter, both have histories of clubhouse issues and that could be a deal breaker with the owner. I like Alexi Ramirez, but age and decline are issues, his defense is already showing signs of it. I’m not a Stephen Drew fan, his production is too streaky for my taste and Nick Punto, I like the guy, but been there, done that.

    If you can’t get a premiere talent like Andrus or Profar, JJ Hardy would be my choice. The Orioles I think would like to move Machado to shortstop, and if they have another third base option in the minors, they could be persuaded to part with Hardy for the right price.

    • Ovadia

      I agree with everything you just said. Another possible option for the Orioles would be trading a player like Freese (not that I want to, but it’s been brought up a few times) for Hardy.

      I doubt that the Cards are getting their hands on Andrus, just because the Rangers just extended his contract. Profar is a different story, but I fear that he won’t be available either. Texas is being awfully miserly with its talent right now.

  • Michael

    Furcal is as good an option as any at this point…

    • Ovadia

      First: thank you for commenting! Eight votes for “other” and you’re the only one to comment. Thank you.

      I’m intrigued by the Furcal option, and he may be worth while. My only fear is that he could get bit by the injury bug again, and he is getting older. It might be worth while seeing him workout before you drop cash on him.

      But he could be an interesting option who I hadn’t really considered.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • Scott Ballard

    If Furcal’s rehab is coming along give him 1 year and see whats up next,OR give Ryan Jackson a real opportunity, not just a couple pinch hits or occasional games, and see what he can do. He has been better than Kozma in the past, and right now just about anyone is.

  • James Joste

    I never thought about bringing Furcal back. That might not be a bad idea if the money is right. Chris Owings may be worth pursuing and let’s not forget about Elvis Andrus. He’s having a down year and perhaps the Rangers would want to make a deal. There is almost no chance of this ever happening but what about Matt Holliday for Andrus. If we were ever able to unload Holliday, I think he would only except a trade to the Rangers. Since he’s from Oklahoma it will still be close to home for him and he can extend his career by splitting time at DH, since we all know he’s not a big fan of playing the outfield.

    • Ovadia

      Andrus is having an off year, but he’s also 24, and the Rangers just re-uped his contract. I don’t think that’s a terribly viable option. And I don’t like the idea of using Shane Robinson everyday in the outfield, so I vote we keep Holliday around. Furcal is definitely an interesting option, though.

  • jlma_ad

    Why not Chris Owings for a pitching prospect/Lynn/Kelly? Something has to give with Waino, Garcia, Miller, and Wacha taking up four rotation spots. It’s a waste to have 3 of Lynn, Kelly, Gast, and C.Martinez in the pen. Plus the way outside chance of Chris Carpenter.

  • Jeremy batesj

    Unload Lynn, maness, and David freese for Troy tulowitsku