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.