Possible replacements for José Iglesias at shortstop for Orioles - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Possible replacements for José Iglesias at shortstop for Orioles

The Orioles are searching for a replacement for shortstop José Iglesias, whom they traded to the Los Angeles Angels on December 2nd. Here’s the list of major league free-agent shortstops, according to MLBTradeRumors.com:

Ehire Adrianza (31)
Freddy Galvis (31)
Didi Gregorius (31)
Joe Panik (30)
JT Riddle (29)
Daniel Robertson (27)
Addison Russell (27)
Marcus Semien (30)
Andrelton Simmons (31)
Eric Sogard (35)
Jonathan Villar (30)

Here’s a breakdown:

Ehire Adrianza: He has eight seasons of major league experience, four with San Francisco and the last four with Minnesota.

The main issue is that he doesn’t really profile as a shortstop. Adrianza has started just 137 games at short in those eight seasons, but that’s more than he’s started at third, second or first base or the corner outfield spots.

The Orioles already have Richie Martin, Ramón Urias and Pat Valaika on the 40-man roster and might not want to add another utility player.

Adrianza is a lifetime .244 hitter with a .670 OPS. Last season, he hit just .191 with a .557 OPS.

His 2020 contract was for $1.6 million.

Freddy Galvis: He’s a popular name, and there are good reasons. Galvis has played for Philadelphia, San Diego, Toronto and Cincinnati and shown durability.


In 2017 and 2018, he played in all of his team’s 162 games with the Phillies and Padres.

Last year, he hit just .220 with a .712 OPS in 47 games with the Reds.

He has some power. In 2019, Galvis hit 23 home runs in 147 games with the Blue Jays and Cincinnati.

But he does strike out frequently. In 2019, Galvis struck out 112 times and walked just 21 times. He stole 14 bases in 2017.

Although he has played at second and third, Galvis is primarily a shortstop.

In 2020, he had a $5.5 million contract, and his price would have to drop for the Orioles.

Didi Gregorius: At the start of this frigid free-agent market, MLBTradeRumors ranked Gregorius its eighth most attractive player on the market and predicted he’d land a three-year, $39 million contract with the Reds.

That hasn’t happened, and the Orioles aren’t going to participate in a bidding war.

From 2015-2019, the Orioles saw plenty of Gregorius, when he played for the New York Yankees. Last year, they faced him when he was with Philadelphia.

Gregorius had Tommy John surgery in October 2018. Last year, he hit .284 with an .827 OPS in 60 games with the Phillies.

He’s a terrific player and, unless there’s no market for him, he won’t be coming to Baltimore on a one-year deal.

Joe Panik: While he’s in the shortstop list, Panik has started only 10 games in seven major league seasons with San Francisco, the New York Mets and Toronto.

Panik, whose 2014 debut season ended with a World Series win in San Francisco, is a solid player. He has a .269 lifetime average with a .714 OPS.

Last year, he hit .225 with a .740 OPS in 41 games for the Blue Jays. His contract was $3.8 million, but the Orioles already added Yolmer Sánchez to play second.

The guess here is that they’ll pass on Panik.

JT Riddle: Besides playing shortstop, Riddle also plays third base, a position of need, and center field.

Riddle’s offense isn’t strong. In four seasons with Miami and Pittsburgh, Riddle has a .222 average and .616 OPS.

He’s also had negative defensive WARs the past two seasons.

Riddle made just $850,000 for the Pirates in 2020. If the Orioles wound up with him, he would be added to the utility mix rather than a starting shortstop.

Daniel Robertson: Robertson wasn’t offered a contract by the Giants last month after playing just 13 games after he was purchased on August 23rd from Tampa Bay.

Oriole fans might remember him from the Rays, but the most games he’s played in the majors was 87 in 2018 when he hit .262 with a .797 OPS.

Robertson has played more games at third base than at short in his major league career, but started most often at second.

If the Orioles signed him, he’d most likely be another  utility player.

His $1,025,000 salary last year wouldn’t frighten the Orioles away.

Addison Russell: He was an All-Star for the 2016 World Series champion Cubs, but after a 40-game suspension for domestic violence in late 2018, his stock fell sharply.

When the Orioles were looking for a shortstop for 2020, Russell was a free agent. They and every other team in Major League Baseball passed on him.

Russell went to South Korea, and hit only .254 with a .653 OPS.

Because of his background, the Orioles should take a hard pass on Russell.

Marcus Semien: In 2019, Semien finished third in the American League Most Valuable Player voting after a stellar year with Oakland. He hit 33 home runs with 92 RBIs, a .285 average and an .892 OPS.

In 2020, Semien hit only .223 with a .679 OPS for the Athletics.

MLBTradeRumors ranked Semien as the 14th-best player on the free-agent market and forecast a one-year, $14 million contract with the Angels.

If there’s a lack of interest in Semien, he’d be a wonderful addition for the Orioles on a one-year contract, but that probably won’t happen.

Andrelton Simmons: The third of the marquee shortstops available, Simmons was rated as MLBTradeRumors’ 17th most attractive free agent. They thought he could get a one-year, $12 million deal with the New York Yankees.

Simmons has the strongest resume of the group. The four-time Gold Glove recipient has a 36.8 WAR in his nine seasons with the Angels and Atlanta Braves.

If the Orioles were a player away from contention, he’d be a logical choice, but like Gregorius and Semien, Simmons likely will have contenders to choose from.

Eric Sogard: He’s another player listed in the shortstop category who’s best known as a second baseman. Sogard has started just seven games at short in the past two seasons.

The oldest player on the list, Sogard hit only .209 with a .560 OPS with Milwaukee last season.

It would seem unlikely that the Orioles would have interest.

Jonathan Villar: In 2019, Villar played in all of the Orioles’ 162 games and had career highs with 24 home runs and 73 RBIs.

The Orioles didn’t want to pay him over $10 million, which some estimated he could receive in arbitration. He was traded to Miami for a pitcher Easton Lucas.

Villar got an $8.2 million salary and his numbers went south. In 52 games with the Marlins and Blue Jays, Villar had just two homers and 15 RBIs, a .232 average and an OPS of .593, a whopping 199-point drop from 2019.

Villar is a free agent, and it would be a surprise if he ended up with the Orioles. His play at shortstop is erratic.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB




  1. BarstoolSleeper

    January 6, 2021 at 7:37 am

    Rich, the past few years the hot stove has been seemingly unplugged from the outlet in December and January. With this year being no exception (aside from the Padres splash), do you think front offices are waiting to hear from MLB on how many games will be played to offer contracts? Seems like with owners crying net losses last year everyone is reluctant to sign guys. I’d just like to hear your take. Thanks.

    • Rich Dubroff

      January 6, 2021 at 7:59 am

      Last winter was an exception. The big-ticket free agents moved quickly.

      It’s no surprise that the market has been quiet, Barstool. Last year’s economy and as you suggest, this year’s uncertainty has contributed.

      It will pick up in the next few weeks, and I’m sure the bigger names will get paid while the smaller names have to settle for less.

  2. Orioles20

    January 6, 2021 at 8:19 am

    I don’t see Russell as an option given his past domestic violence history. I think villar and galvis could be more realistic options. I would bring in a veteran for the cheap to challenge Martin. They have to see what he is whether that’s a light hitting utility guy or a everyday player. He seem to do better in September of 2019

  3. Orial

    January 6, 2021 at 8:44 am

    Great breakdown Rich. You pretty much canceled out and cross checked the yes and no’s of potential replacements. Saying “just give it to Richie Mattin-“a popular viewpoint I’m sure”may be a little pre-mature. I think veteran leadership at SS would be more beneficial to the pitching staff at this time. Martin will need a little more time/seasoning. I emphasize beneficial to pitchers being that that’s at the forefront of this teams development. By process of elimination(your elimination Rich) I’d go with Galvis–but OH those strikeouts. OH and please no Villar reunion.

  4. Boog Robinson Robinson

    January 6, 2021 at 10:08 am

    Pfffttewwwwwyyy on all these guys! They stink. I say to we BRING UP GUNNAR NOW!! Joking boys, I’m only joking!! (or am I?)

    Really … of the players listed above, they are either bums, or are only slightly above bum status but are evidently too expensive for our AAA payroll. Why even bother trying replace Iglesias anyway? He was the cheap but solid solution all along! But today doesn’t matter ‘eh Mikey?

    So Mr. Martin .. the job is yours in my opinion. Pfffttewwwwwyyy on all these guys.

    • CalsPals

      January 6, 2021 at 10:57 am

      They had Iglesias on the cheap, should have just stick with him…go O’s…

  5. schusscg26

    January 6, 2021 at 10:58 am

    Rich, thanks for the analysis and insights. Once you eliminate Didi, Simmons and Semien as too pricy even if they don’t sign elsewhere, Galvis seems the most workable option. But with the needs seeming to be defensive capabilities and leadership, is Galvis really a good fit given your knowledge and contacts? If yes, I think we go in that direction and live with the strikeouts at the plate. We are not talking about a long-term solution here. One year, maybe 2 like intended with Iglesias? Thanks again and will look forward to your thoughts.

    • Rich Dubroff

      January 6, 2021 at 5:21 pm

      Galvis’ defense is considered good, and for a year, I think he could work.

  6. willmiranda

    January 6, 2021 at 11:14 am

    It seems that Iglesias will have a successor rather than a replacement. But with all the O’s shifts, they don’t need a shortstop, just three short-fielders, whom they can choose from a bevy of utility-types.

  7. NormOs

    January 6, 2021 at 1:02 pm

    I notice the word “cheap” comes up a lot when talking about the O’s. Any one wonder why that is? I’m probably going to have to live with that as long as I live, but then again, I’m 88. I am hoping to see one more COMPETATIVE O’s team. It’s probably not going to happen as long as “The Vault”, burried these last few years, remains unopened. Remember “No Top 50 Free Agents” BTW, I scanned the SS list and that can only be narrowed down by which guys go on waivers. The O’s have no interest in anything else, again, No FAs, too much money!

    • ClayDal

      January 6, 2021 at 1:58 pm

      Just a reminder, the Orioles signed Iglesias last year on January 7th. He was a free agent. And they were willing to pay him 3.5 million this year by picking up his option. Until we find out anything about Stallings and Pinto , I am willing to withhold judgment. As for the top 50 free agents, have any expressed a desire to play for the Orioles? Looking at the top 50 from last year, what free agent would have signed here for the price they got elsewhere? Would Cole have signed with the Orioles for 9 years, 324 million? Probably not. Josh Donaldson signed for 4 years 92 million with Minnesota. Doubt the Orioles could have got him for that price. Back in 2017, ancient history, the Orioles payroll was 161 million, 8th in the league. When it makes sense to spend again, they will

      • willmiranda

        January 7, 2021 at 10:04 am

        Just one thought, Clay. My suspicion is that they weren’t willing to pay Iglesias’ that much and the plan was a sign-and-trade one from the beginning, just looking for a partner. If they hadn’t picked up the option, they would have got nothing in return. Hope you’re right about the O’s finding players worth spending money on, sooner rather than later.

  8. Tony Paparella

    January 6, 2021 at 2:05 pm

    As far as I am concerned nothing ion that list is worth bothering with. None of them are capable of hitting with any consistency anymore and none are really that outstanding gloves either. I would give Richie Martin a look to start off, or just insert a utility guy until a better option comes up. I wouldn’t give any of the guys you mentioned 1.5 million when you need to find out what Martin has, or if someone else in the organization can step up.Martin is a decent fielder right now so none of those guys have a thing on him. Spend the money elsewhere and try to develop what you have in the organization.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      January 6, 2021 at 10:53 pm

      Well said Tony.


    January 7, 2021 at 8:27 am

    Can you buy a shortstop at Family Dollar or at Ollies Bargain store?

  10. Bhoffman1

    January 7, 2021 at 8:33 am

    To me Addison Russell should be signed. People deserve a second chance. He’s young talented and would come cheap and has upside potential. He’s not a criminal and went thru counseling. If he came back it would be a great story

    • Rich Dubroff

      January 7, 2021 at 8:50 am

      Domestic violence is viewed by many as a crime, a serious one. The Orioles don’t need that additional distraction.

    • Bhoffman1

      January 7, 2021 at 4:04 pm

      So know one ever gets a second chance after counseling. That’s crazy Rich. There are always two sides I’m not saying it wasn’t Russell’s fault but he’s a kid and his life and career should not be over. I think that’s shortsighted of you. Just my opinion.

  11. CalsPals

    January 7, 2021 at 1:24 pm

    Bummer, Lindor is now a Met, coulda traded for him & signed him to a high $ extension, lol, wishful thinking…go O’s…

    • ClayDal

      January 7, 2021 at 3:41 pm

      Looking at who the Mets gave up to get Lindor. 2 young SS’s who’ve have major league experience, plus their 9th and 10th prospects, an IF and OF. Trying to find a comparable Oriole package, Diaz, Kremer, Henderson , and Vavra. That’s your 6th, 8th, 10th, and 13th prospects according to MLB website. For one year guaranteed of Lindor. And 2 years 27 million for Carrasco. That’s too big a haul for short term players.

    • CalsPals

      January 7, 2021 at 5:30 pm

      Was being facetious, take a breath…go O’s…

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        January 8, 2021 at 8:30 pm

        Heck CPs … I kinda liked the idea. Imagine, and actual star player wearing black and orange. But then again, the Angelos boys would probably raise the price of parking.

    • CalsPals

      January 9, 2021 at 6:08 am

      Boog, I think you’re right, it would be awesome having a star player in orange & black, but I think you stated it perfectly when you said imagine, if they’ve got plenty of $, then 1 or 2 too 50 FA shouldn’t be an issue…but it seems to be…go O’s…

  12. Behemoth

    January 7, 2021 at 2:08 pm

    I have a suspicion that Elias wants to try Yolmer Sánchez at short, letting Urias and Bannon compete at second. But Sánchez is pretty unproven over there, it would be awfully risky to go into the season with Richie Martin as the only fallback option at short.

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