|ESPN.com: SweetSpot||[Print without images]|
Stop and think about this question for a moment: How many really good shortstops are there in baseball right now? Troy Tulowitzki is pretty great. So is Hanley Ramirez. Who is the best in the game after those two? Derek Jeter and Marco Scutaro are good, and also old. Yunel Escobar has nice numbers, but was traded for a 33-year-old Alex Gonzalez who struggled to slug .330 in the middle of a pennant race last year. Stephen Drew and Alexei Ramirez are nice players, and not quite stars. Elvis Andrus and Starlin Castro are years from their primes; Jose Reyes has been injured during his.
The point here is just that while good, sound, solid, harmless shortstops would seem to have some value these days, they apparently don't. The Minnesota Twins, by anyone's reckoning a strong contender, rid themselves of J.J. Hardy in exchange for the oft-traded "live arms," the same types that are also involved in a deal (which may or may not ever happen) that would move Jason Bartlett from the Tampa Bay Rays to the San Diego Padres. From this one can infer that we're just in a bit of a positional drought right now. Everyone other than the greats is part of a drab gray mass.
Here lies opportunity! You'll often hear it said of this or that infielder --Washington's Ryan Zimmerman, say, or free agent Adrian Beltre -- that he could handle shortstop. Someone should put the theory into practice. There just aren't a lot of top shortstops around right now. Make one of your own and you'll have one.
|Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman likely has the skills to play shortstop.|