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Seattle's Infield Quandary Made Worse By GM's Recent Remarks

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J.P. Crawford Should Move To Second To Accommodate Free Agent Shortstop


Just like last year's off-season, the Houston Astros are coming off of a World Series appearance. Also like last year, the position of shortstop is the biggest topic of free agency.

Unlike the 2021 off-season, however, the Astros will not be a team in the market for a shortstop. After a sensational rookie year and a dynamic performance in the postseason, Jeremy Pena will be inked in as the everyday shortstop in Houston.

Much of the free agent discussion centered on Pena's predecessor, Carlos Correa, who was looking to sign a lucrative contract. Most fans were surprised when, in spite of shortstop needs by big market clubs, Correa announced that he had signed with the Minnesota Twins.

Since it was a one-year deal, Correa finds himself back in the free agent market again. His competition at shortstop are All-Stars like Dansby Swanson of the Atlanta Braves, Trea Turner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Xander Bogaerts of the Boston Red Sox.

Many teams are looking for upgrades at shortstop, apparently even one club that already has an All-Star at that position. Seattle General manager Jerry Dipoto announced that he wants to sign one of the high end free agent shortstops, a strange statement considering the Mariners have J. P. Crawford.

His plan, he explained, is to convince whomever he signs to move to second base to accommodate Crawford. It would take an extremely persuasive team representative, not to mention an extremely lucrative deal, to convince a superstar like Correa or Turner or Bogaerts or Swanson to switch positions in order to accommodate the mediocre shortstop that is J. P. Crawford.

After all, Crawford's numbers have been unimpressive, especially his six home runs and measly 42 runs batted in for 2022. The better decision would be to shift the defensively-challenged Crawford to second, where his offense would be a slight upgrade over free agent Adam Frazier.

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If they do indeed insist on that stipulation about keeping Crawford left of second, the Mariners may not land one of those big four free agent shortstops. The quartet will still have plenty of suitors, however, since many clubs are wanting to upgrade their offense at that position.

Obviously the four teams losing their free agent shortstops will all need to fill that spot, even though Minnesota is likely to fill it from within. Top prospect Royce Lewis might finally be given the everyday job, or the Twins could opt to move Jorge Polanco back there from second.

Atlanta, should they not be able to re-sign Swanson, would certainly take on one of the other three. The same could be said for the deep-pocketed Dodgers, but not necessarily the Red Sox.

Boston could replace Bogaerts with Trevor Story, a veteran shortstop who moved to second last year solely to accommodate the Red Sox captain. Their A. L. East rivals from the Bronx are also likely to sign one of the big four, once they take care of home run king Aaron Judge.

Free agent shortstops may also get interest from the N. L. Central, where two teams will be looking to amp up their infields. Correa or Bogaerts woul be a great complement to All-Star corner infielders Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado.

The Cubs, who are probably glad that they sent away Javier Baez a year ago, are ready to find his long-term replacement. More tight-fisted than the large market clubs, St. Louis and Chicago may fill their need via trade perhaps bringing in available shortstops like Corey Seager or Marcus Semien of Texas.

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