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2020-21 Free Agent Class: Shortstops

Regardless of whether a 2020 season actually occurs, the prominent players who are currently on schedule to reach free agency after the campaign will stay on that track. MLBTR’s Jeff Todd just examined the catchers who could wind up on the open market next winter. Let’s now turn our focus to the potential shortstop group…

Top Of The Class

  • Marcus Semien (30): If we’re going by 2020 production, there’s no touching Semien in this category. He was a 7.6-fWAR player last season, after all, but had only gotten to the halfway point of that number once prior to then. So, was last year a fluke, a significant breakthrough or something in between? It’ll be interesting to see how teams evaluate Semien in the event that a season doesn’t happen.
  • Andrelton Simmons (31): Simmons is one of the greatest defensive players in the history of the game, and he added to his value with slightly above-average offense from 2017-18, but has typically failed to reach those heights at the plate. Last season was a rough one on offense for Simmons, who dealt with ankle issues throughout, though he could further position himself for a sizable payday with a bounce-back showing.
  • Didi Gregorius (31): Although Gregorius was an eminently valuable member of the Yankees between 2017-18, last season represented a major step back. Gregorius sat out the first couple months of the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow and then batted a disappointing .238/.276/.441 in 344 plate appearances. As a result, he didn’t quite cash in as hoped as a free agent this past winter, signing a one-year, $14MM contract with the Phillies.

Other Regulars (based upon 2019 playing time)

  • Freddy Galvis (31): He’s a switch-hitter who has some pop, but if we’re to believe the wRC+ metric, Galvis has never quite approached league-average offensive production. An inability to consistently get on base has been a problem; just last season, for instance, Galvis hit .260/.296/.438 with 23 home runs in 589 trips to the plate between the Blue Jays and the Reds. That amounted to an 89 wRC+, a career-high showing but one that didn’t blow anyone away. But Galvis is extremely durable, having totaled five straight seasons ranging from 147 to 162 games, and someone who has tended to mix passable offense with plus defense. In other words, a shortstop-needy team could certainly do worse.
  • Jose Iglesias (31): Iglesias isn’t all that dissimilar from Galvis, in that he’s also an acceptable stopgap. While Iglesias has never been a force at the plate, his impressive defense has helped make him an essentially average contributor during his career. That said, whether Iglesias will reach free agency next offseason is in question. The Orioles, who signed him in January, have the ability to control Iglesias in 2021 with a $3.5MM club option (as opposed to a $500K buyout). That looks fair relative to what he brings to the table.

Top Timeshare Candidates

  • Eric Sogard (35): Age isn’t on Sogard’s side, but he at least possesses defensive flexibility (he played all over the infield and outfield in 2019). Of course, while Sogard hit quite well last year between the Blue Jays and Rays (.290/.353/.457 across 442 PA), offense typically hasn’t been the now-Brewer’s forte.
  • Ehire Adrianza (31): Adrianza saw time all over the diamond last year, though he didn’t garner a ton of action at short (152 innings). No matter, the switch-hitting Twin’s versatility and – if he hits like last season (.272/.349/.416 in 236 PA) – decent production at the plate could make him an appealing target.
  • Adeiny Hechavarria (32): Count Hechavarria as another member of this list who’s known more for his defense than his offense. The light-hitting journeyman (he played for a least two teams in each season from 2017-19) lined up at short, second and third last year.

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