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.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

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?