In 2013, the Marlins employed the services of a young Adeiny Hechavarria at shortstop. Hech is a wizard with the glove, often times making plays that were spectacular to see. Unfortunately, Hech made too many errors on plays he should have made, and that hurt his defensive value. He also struggled mightily at the plate, hitting a paltry .227/.267/.298. That will have to improve if Hechavarria expects to have a long career in the major leagues. That being said, I believe the Marlins still think that Hech is the shortstop of the future. He was the most durable, everyday player the Marlins had and they will give him another chance next year to improve his game.
I think it is unlikely that the Marlins will pursue any of these shortstops in free agency, but that is not going to stop us from looking at their strengths and weaknesses and assessing the possibility of them joining Miami. Let us begin.
The Boston Red Sox shortstop was a big part of their World Series championship. He didn’t hit well in the postseason, (but who did other than David Ortiz) but he played very well during the regular season to help get them to that point. His stat line of .253/.333/.443 was very solid for a shortstop and helped earn him an overall WAR of 3.4. He flashed good power, although some of that can be contributed to the dimensions of Fenway.
Drew is an above average defender, and in a free agent shortstop market with few options, appears to be in a class by himself this offseason. His injury history is becoming a bit of a concern. He missed most of 2011 and the beginning of 2012 with an ankle injury and suffered a few nagging injuries this season. He could have used a season in which he played 155 games but was only able to play 124 games in 2013. Teams will take that into consideration.
The Red Sox made a qualifying offer to Drew, which means that anyone that signs him will likely forfeit a first round draft pick in return. Boston has little incentive to resign him, with Xander Bogaerts waiting in the wings. I think that the New York Mets will make a push for him, and possibly the Pirates as well.
He should receive a 4 year contract in the 50 million dollar range, well out of Loria’s price range when he already has a starter at that position. If this was next offseason, and Hechavarria had struggled for 2 straight years, I could see Loria possibly making a play for Drew. As it stands now, Drew will probably be heading elsewhere.
Likelihood of Becoming a Marlin: 1/10
Peralta hits the free agent market after a season of turmoil. In the midst of turning in one of his better seasons as a pro, Peralta was hit with a 50 game suspension due to connections he had in the BioGenesis scandal. This will certainly affect the contract value that Peralta receives, although maybe not as much as you would think.
Peralta is an above average hitter at the shortstop position. He has the ability to hit 20 or more home runs and should hit around .280. Peralta is a decent fielding shortstop. He doesn’t possess the range that someone like Hechavarria has, but he is consistent and not error prone. Peralta also has the advantage of being capable of playing other positions, playing first base, third base, shortstop and even some left field in his career.
Multiple positions could certainly peak the Marlins interest in him, as they could see him as a temporary player at third base, as well as provide depth at shortstop and first base in the event of an injury. He is not quite as valuable at third base as he is at shortstop, but he is better than anything the Marlins currently have.
Peralta is still relatively young and I believe is capable of finding a 4 year offer on the market, particularly without receiving a qualifying offer, and the lack of talent at the shortstop position this year. He could receive 10 million dollars a year for 4 years, which might be out of the Marlins range. If Loria can find the money, Peralta could really help this team out next year. I don’t see this being the case, so look for the Pittsburgh Pirates to try to capitalize on their postseason run by getting another bat to aid them.
Likelihood of Becoming a Marlin:3/10
There are a few more veterans that are available to be signed, but I can’t really see the Marlins signing one of them, unless they are looking to provide depth. More than likely, they will go with what they currently have. Here is a list of the free agents at the shortstop position.
Robert Andino (30)
Clint Barmes (35)
Willie Bloomquist (36)
Jamey Carroll (40)
Alexi Casilla (29)
Luis Cruz (30)
Stephen Drew (31)
Rafael Furcal (36)
Alex Gonzalez (36)
Nick Green (35)
Brendan Harris (33)
Cesar Izturis (34)
Munenori Kawasaki (32)
John McDonald (39)
Jhonny Peralta (32)
Cody Ransom (38)
Brendan Ryan (32)
What do you think about this list? Any names that you would like to see put on a Marlins uniform next year? Do you feel that Hechavarria can be the shortstop of the future for the Marlins? Let us know in the comments below.