As many of you know I've been preaching defense and more specifically range at the shortstop position even over offensive production, naturally my first choice is no longer out there and I can't mention Neifi Perez without pissing the baseball gods off.
With that being said and John McDonald being signed off the market I figured it would be time to review the shortstop market this off-season while comparing McDonald and current shortstops Josh Wilson and Jorge Velandia to three other acquirable six places. David Eckstein through straight free agency, Juan Uribe assuming the White Sox decline his club option, and Orlando Cabrera who has Erick Aybar directly below him and only a year left on his deal.
As many of you know I made McDonald out as a deity of glove, but in reality Cabrera and Eckstein are quite comparable when it comes to Range Factor and Juan Uribe is actually a ways ahead of McDonald. Though purely through eye tests it seems McDonald gets to everything, and I mean everything near him, in fact without looking up the stats I would've thought saying McDonald was the best shortstop in the entire game would be about as debatable Mos Def being a better lyricist than 50 Cent. Of course then I looked at the Range Zone Ratings and McDonald blows them all away so perhaps I'm not as obsessed with McDonald as I thought.
Offensively McDonald is unimpressive, but then again only one of the shortstops being compared has an OPS over .719, this including Velandia's AAA numbers, that being Orlando Cabrera at .756. Wilson actually features a higher OPS than David Eckstein but falls short in terms of grittiness and heart as well as outs produced by balls put into play, in fact Eckstein's 5.6 percent is an indication that he well, forces the defense to make the out. Eckstein is a local kid and went to the University of Florida which naturally links him to the Rays and may as well note the Maddon connection while we're at it.
Uribe has a very smooth glove, is the youngest of the potential substitutes and would likely cost less than Eckstein (who would probably replace him in Chicago) and signing in Tampa would leave him closer to his homeland of the Dominican Republic. Cabrera would be re-united with Maddon, but a hefty price tag and only one year at that should lower his value, it'll be interesting if the Angels make a commitment to trade him or hold onto him and seek the compensational draft picks next off-season.
Velandia and Wilson wouldn't excite, but are financially safe and along with Ben Zobrist and Brendan Harris could combine for something useful with Akinori Iwamura all but a lock at second base.
Of course maybe the Braves wouldn't mind making a swap for Edgar Renteria...