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BSL: An Overview of the Shortstop Free Agent Market


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#1 BSLBradJohnson

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Posted 16 September 2022 - 11:58 AM

We talk about it constantly, and now I've taken the time to fully examine the market - specifically the players involved at the top, what they'll want to earn, the (mostly ugly) fallback options, and the various teams who might be involved. Consider this your primer until some unexpected club throws a wrench in the works.

 

https://baltimorespo...et-and-suitors/

 

Separately, I'd like feedback on your interest in more general MLB topics told with a mild Orioles-focused filter.


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#2 Mackus

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Posted 16 September 2022 - 12:05 PM

My preferences:

 

Trade for Seager

Sign Correa

Sign Turner and move to 2B

Sign Bogaerts and move to 3B

Sign Swanson

 

Thrilled with any of the top 4 moves.  Don't really want Swanson.  I'd happily take him of course, but would prefer to just roll with the infield as-is and spend that money elsewhere.



#3 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 16 September 2022 - 12:06 PM

Brad how about the same type of article for starting pitchers.


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#4 BSLBradJohnson

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Posted 16 September 2022 - 12:52 PM

Brad how about the same type of article for starting pitchers.

 

Already have some notes!



#5 BSLBradJohnson

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Posted 16 September 2022 - 01:05 PM

My preferences:

 

Trade for Seager

Sign Correa

Sign Turner and move to 2B

Sign Bogaerts and move to 3B

Sign Swanson

 

Thrilled with any of the top 4 moves.  Don't really want Swanson.  I'd happily take him of course, but would prefer to just roll with the infield as-is and spend that money elsewhere.

 

Really hammering the Seager drum :)

 

At risk of diverting the topic, help me to understand why? The free agents only come with a QO (not even in Correa's case) and similar expected AAV. Not trying to come at you or anything, just legitimately curious since I've seen you say this a lot.

 

Seager isn't a particularly good defender (similar or a hair better than Bogaerts), his bat is probably fourth-best of the group (though still excellent), and he's signed as long as the others are liable to ink.

 

You'll also have to send some notable prospects to acquire him. Something like Westburg, Hall, and Frederick Bencosme or whichever trio of young and interesting players catches their eye. That's if they're even entertaining offers, which I haven't heard anything credible about that.

 

I'm struggling to see the advantage. Is it just that he's left-handed and the ballpark is configured to hate RHH? Some of the good batters have to be right-handed even if there's a home-field disadvantage.



#6 Mackus

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Posted 16 September 2022 - 01:39 PM

I think he's the best hitter with the most offensive upside that will be able to stick at SS amongst the group (I like Bogaerts similarly as a hitter, but don't think he's as long for SS, Turner and Correa are better defensively but don't like the bats quite as much).  Being a left-handed bat has to help his projection a little bit with the new dimensions at Camden Yards compared to the rest of the right-handed bats.  And both home and away as shifts are taken away you'd expect his numbers to improve further since he's been shifted against so often (I don't know if the other guys get shifted a lot but righties are generally impacted less)

 

He wouldn't take much to acquire if he's actually available, as his availability means hat Texas is selling him to limit their contractual obligations and they already were paying him more than literally anyone else was willing so there is basically no surplus value to his contract.  He's not a giveaway, but the appealing scenario is that he won't require a major package.  If he does take a big trade package, then he obviously becomes a less appealing option than one of the guys who only takes cash.  Similarly, if he's not even available, then he isn't an option.



#7 TwentyThirtyFive

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Posted 16 September 2022 - 02:21 PM

Hasnt Seager also played 2b in the show. Maybe Im wrong about that. Being a LH bat and being the 2nd youngest is the biggest appeal for me. All that said, Id prefer not to take on that contract.



#8 Mackus

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Posted 16 September 2022 - 02:23 PM

Nope. 4 starts at 3B.

#9 TwentyThirtyFive

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Posted 16 September 2022 - 02:24 PM

And no Seager hasnt played 2b. So that likely isnt a go. I know Turner has but I also know he looked shaky for the Dodgers there last year



#10 TwentyThirtyFive

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Posted 16 September 2022 - 02:27 PM

Semien has turned his season around. Seems to be a very good 2b. Is cheaper and not signed as long though still through his 37 yr old season. Not against looking into him. That said, it seems Tex is going to double down on their offseason from last year



#11 BSLBradJohnson

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Posted 16 September 2022 - 02:52 PM

Yea, if Texas decided they screwed up last winter, I figure they'd push Semien out the door first. If they dealt Seager, it would because of the quality of the prospects in return.

 

The weird thing about MLB of late is even the so-called mega contracts have plenty of surplus value once teams have the chance to digest them and get over their risk aversion.



#12 dude

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Posted 17 September 2022 - 10:01 AM

I don't concur with a lot of what you wrote in that piece.  That's not to say there isn't some underlying merit to most of it.

-------------

 

The quick bottom line wrt to the Orioles.....

 

The Orioles aren't going to be involved in FA for anyone significant.

 

There's no reason for the Orioles to be involved in secondary market.  Their 2023 Team is already better than the secondary market.



#13 SouthRider

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Posted 17 September 2022 - 11:25 AM

I agree with Dude. They also aren't going to trade a bunch of prospects for Seager. They are saving their trade chips for a top of the rotation starter when the time is right. Problem is, when will that be? The current roster is due for regression even with a full season of Adley and Gunnar.

The Orioles are at an inflection point of the rebuild. Teams like the 2013-sh Pirates, current Tigers, and even 1990 Orioles were at this point and screwed it up. Rangers apparently thought they were here this year too. Nope. It's hard to take that next step.

It might also be harder for the Orioles given ownership constraints. They say they are going to spend and it's liftoff from here. We'll see.

#14 dude

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Posted 17 September 2022 - 11:26 AM

My thoughts on the players.

 

Turner: I don't see him leaving LAD.  Dodgers didn't want to keep Seager for whatever reasons, but they traded for Turner to mitigate that.  They've had more of the "trade for, sell, extend" approach and I see no reason why they wouldn't here.  Maybe he wants out of LA because he wants to wear his jewelry in public.  We'll see.

 

Arenado: The Cards have a pretty long history of the trade/extend approach (would be my approach too).  Maybe they re-work his deal, but I doubt they want him to leave and I doubt he wants to leave so I'd bet they work something out.  Maybe they just add a year or 2, something simple.

 

Bogaerts: He's leaving Boston and it will be interesting to see how the RedSox handle this offseason.  My money would be on Philly.  They were already reportedly interested and this would be centered on the approach of Dombrowski and the desire of Middleton (that's why you hire Dombrowski).

 

Swanson: Again, don't really see him leaving the Braves.  They've put this group together, they can stay together for a while and I don't see him getting crazy money with his career .737 OPS on the market.  He has a lot of value.  I'd guess they do something in the 6/100 range.

 

Correa: I question if anyone gives him 300M.  If they don't, what is he going to do?  There's no incentive to appease Boras at this point so we're back to the Boras market 4-5 years ago where Teams were more cautious.  

 

Here's the other things working against (if you will) all of these guys.  The SS depth across MLB is crazy right now.  If the Phillies go after Bogaerts, then they can trade Stott.  Stott may not be great, but if it's letting Stott figure it out of give 300M to Correa, that's an easy answer for me.  If the Giants are aggressive away from Crawford, there's Lucinao. The Mets have Mauricio gathering dust.  The Braves extend Swanson and they make Grissom available. The Reds have 3 SSs on the near-horizon.  The Twins will turn it over to Lewis.  The Yankees could go with a young guy and still trade another highly rated young guy.  The Indians are deep in MI and could trade Rosario to put Giminez back at SS.

 

It's not really a question of would you rather have "Correa" or this young kid, it's whether you want to put 300M at risk versus seeing what happens with this young kid.



#15 85Knight

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Posted 17 September 2022 - 01:46 PM

I agree with Dude. They also aren't going to trade a bunch of prospects for Seager. They are saving their trade chips for a top of the rotation starter when the time is right. Problem is, when will that be? The current roster is due for regression even with a full season of Adley and Gunnar.

The Orioles are at an inflection point of the rebuild. Teams like the 2013-sh Pirates, current Tigers, and even 1990 Orioles were at this point and screwed it up. Rangers apparently thought they were here this year too. Nope. It's hard to take that next step.

It might also be harder for the Orioles given ownership constraints. They say they are going to spend and it's liftoff from here. We'll see.


I agree totally with this. I think it's a big mistake to think we're gonna automatically be better next year. Without the right moves there might be more regression than what people are expecting. There have been a lot of questionable moves this season that have me a little worried about the future of the major league roster. We shall see.

#16 hallas

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Posted 18 September 2022 - 12:32 AM

Are we assuming we Urias, Henderson, and Mateo aren't all going to repeat or expand on their performances? Urias has been probably the best defensive 3b in baseball this year, and we've talked about Mateo quite a bit already. If we are looking in Correa/Seager's price range why not Judge?

#17 dude

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Posted 18 September 2022 - 08:59 AM

Are we assuming we Urias, Henderson, and Mateo aren't all going to repeat or expand on their performances? Urias has been probably the best defensive 3b in baseball this year, and we've talked about Mateo quite a bit already. 

 

You have to make choices. 

 

People want to dream about the Orioles being involved in the top of the market and that's cool at the "what would I do" level, but that's different than what the Orioles will do (ie reality).  I'm good with both as an exercise on an Orioles Baseball message board, but there is (should be) a clean break between the two positions which everyone likes to blur.

 

Gunnar Henderson will be on the Orioles infield next year.  It probably won't be 2B.  So you pick between 3B and SS and that drives the other decisions. Let's say 3B.

 

You have to pick what you want to do with SS.  Mateo has been interesting.  The speed is fun.  The defense is good. You control him through arbitration the next 3 years.  Joey Ortiz is at AAA and provides a similar package with less raw speed. You have other SSs in the system including Holliday.  So Mateo to Holliday seems like an easy thing to do.

 

That leaves 2B.  Westburg and Norby are both producing at a high level but their timelines basically 100% overlap....so again, choices.  You aren't going to know anything about either one by the end of 2023 to be any more correct in any decision you make for the next 5 years.

 

That leave Urias in a reserve role (still pre-arb n 2023), but maybe you move on from him and find a better home with a Team that could use him.  I have an idea.

 

3B-Henderson, SS-Mateo, 2B-Westburg is a multi-year, inexpensive infield that provides good offense and defense possibilities and you don't have to actually do anything to get there.  



#18 dude

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Posted 18 September 2022 - 09:05 AM

If we are looking in Correa/Seager's price range why not Judge?

 

"We" (the Orioles) aren't looking at anyone.

 

Judge will be fun though because Steve Cohen is going to make the Yankees pay.  The Orioles are not involved.  The Yankees can't afford to lose him on (or off) the field and you have Cohen wanting to groin-strike them in the NY ecosphere and well resourced teams (Giants, maybe Dodgers) that can make the west-coast play for him.  Yankees will have to ante-up at a comical level.  Fun.



#19 BSLBradJohnson

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Posted 19 September 2022 - 09:17 AM

My thoughts on the players.

 

Turner: I don't see him leaving LAD.  Dodgers didn't want to keep Seager for whatever reasons, but they traded for Turner to mitigate that.  They've had more of the "trade for, sell, extend" approach and I see no reason why they wouldn't here.  Maybe he wants out of LA because he wants to wear his jewelry in public.  We'll see.

 

Arenado: The Cards have a pretty long history of the trade/extend approach (would be my approach too).  Maybe they re-work his deal, but I doubt they want him to leave and I doubt he wants to leave so I'd bet they work something out.  Maybe they just add a year or 2, something simple.

 

Bogaerts: He's leaving Boston and it will be interesting to see how the RedSox handle this offseason.  My money would be on Philly.  They were already reportedly interested and this would be centered on the approach of Dombrowski and the desire of Middleton (that's why you hire Dombrowski).

 

Swanson: Again, don't really see him leaving the Braves.  They've put this group together, they can stay together for a while and I don't see him getting crazy money with his career .737 OPS on the market.  He has a lot of value.  I'd guess they do something in the 6/100 range.

 

Correa: I question if anyone gives him 300M.  If they don't, what is he going to do?  There's no incentive to appease Boras at this point so we're back to the Boras market 4-5 years ago where Teams were more cautious.  

 

Here's the other things working against (if you will) all of these guys.  The SS depth across MLB is crazy right now.  If the Phillies go after Bogaerts, then they can trade Stott.  Stott may not be great, but if it's letting Stott figure it out of give 300M to Correa, that's an easy answer for me.  If the Giants are aggressive away from Crawford, there's Lucinao. The Mets have Mauricio gathering dust.  The Braves extend Swanson and they make Grissom available. The Reds have 3 SSs on the near-horizon.  The Twins will turn it over to Lewis.  The Yankees could go with a young guy and still trade another highly rated young guy.  The Indians are deep in MI and could trade Rosario to put Giminez back at SS.

 

It's not really a question of would you rather have "Correa" or this young kid, it's whether you want to put 300M at risk versus seeing what happens with this young kid.

 

Just some of my own impressions to these expectations.

 

If the Dodgers were going to extend Turner, it would have happened. They must be targeting a different shortstop. 

 

While Arenado's certainly a far safer play than Gorman/Walker in 2023, the duo is probably more valuable to them beyond next season. Not to say they'll outperform Arenado, but the combination of 3-4 WAR from them with $35MM+ to spend on a more glaring weakness seems obviously preferable.

 

Bogaerts... yea, I have no idea. I think a lot of teams will view him as a consolation prize which could work in some team's favor if they make him their top target. He certainly fits Philly's needs. 

 

The Braves usually extend guys pre-market. They're going to go with Grissom/Albies. If Swanson costs $100MM, maybe that calculus changes because that's at least $80MM light.

 

Correa I think is the guy the Dodgers want instead of Turner.



#20 BSLBradJohnson

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Posted 19 September 2022 - 09:25 AM

What really interests me is how teams will incorporate the new shifting rules into their offers. Shifts and positioning are what make a lot of the current crop of SS's look like passable or even good defenders. Carlos Correa has some Derek Jeter range. He's bailed out by positioning. The better analytics clubs are going to be able to model this more accurately than others. The Phillies, for instance, are going to say "fuck it, let's pay this guy and hope it works." The Dodgers are going to make a very informed choice. 

 

This also happens to be where Swanson shines. The bat may not be flashy, but his glove is miles ahead of the others in this class. And most SS in the league.


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