Over the past couple of days, it sounded as if there was a strong chance that Elvis Andrus would be the Opening Day shortstop for the St. Louis Cardinals. This is no longer the case as the Detroit Tigers traded first baseman Prince Fielder to the Texas Rangers for second baseman Ian Kinsler.
With Kinsler moving, this opens up second base for Jurickson Profar. Unless the Rangers decide that they want to free up payroll to pursue free agent second baseman Robinson Cano, the next Cardinals shortstop will not be coming en route from Arlington.
This puts the Cardinals back at square one.
Over on Twitter, Joe at STL Cup of Joe has been a proponent of acquiring either Chris Owings or Jonathan Schoop. Owings can play both shortstop and second base. He made his debut with the Arizona Diamondbacks this past September after being drafted in 2009 as the 41st overall pick. He is arb eligible in 2017 and becomes a free agent in 2020. Oh, yea: he can hit the ball, too!
The problem for the Dbacks is this: they can’t afford to have Owings on the bench. They have Aaron Hill at second and he is signed through the end of 2016. They also have Didi Gregorius at shortstop and he arb eligible in 2016 with free agency coming in 2019. The Dbacks will have to choose between Gregorius and Owings.
Owings was the 7th best prospect for the Dbacks entering 2013 according to Baseball America.
Arizona Republic beat writer Nick Piecoro ranked the shortstops and got comments from scouts.
Schoop is with the Baltimore Orioles. He made his debut just at the end of September. He won’t be arb eligible until 2017 and becomes a free agent in 2020. He’s primarily a second baseman but has played a solid amount of time at shortstop in the minors, too. With Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts being a free agent in 2014, they probably won’t want to give up Schoop. Shortstop J.J. Hardy is under contract until the end of the 2014 season but Manny Machado came up through their system as a shortstop.
A lot of things can happen but should the Cardinals go after Owings, it would not mean giving up all that much. The fact that Owings can hit at every level is a reason to get behind a potential move.