Cincinnati Reds should target starting shortstops this offseason

(Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images) /

With Jose Peraza the only shortstop on the roster the Cincinnati Reds should look for a starting quality shortstop.

The Cincinnati Reds have a need for help at shortstop.  They lost Zack Cozart to the Los Angeles Angels via free agency.  Now they need to find someone who can play everyday.

The highest profile shortstop left in the market with the signing of Cozart is Alcides Escobar.  He won a World Series with the Kansas City Royals, but is aging quickly.  The Reds could sign him as a mentor to Peraza, but Escobar isn’t much better on defense than Peraza.

An intriguing part-time option is J.J. Hardy.  He couldn’t stay healthy in 2017, but he can still play defense.  His offense is down as well.

Another high profile free agent is Erick Aybar.  He was a starter through 2015 with the Angels.  Since that time he has been a fringe starter for three different teams.

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The best fit for the Reds may be Danny Espinosa, who started with the Angels last season.  He can play anywhere on the infield aside from first base.  He can play short at a plus level defensively, but may not have strong enough offensive skills to maintain a hold on the position.

With a weak set of shortstops to choose from, the Cincinnati Reds could consider a more generic infielder.

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Darwin Barney is a free agent and can play second, short, and third at the MLB level.  His offense is sub par, but his defense makes up for that.  He could cover short defensively for an elongated period, if need be.

Cliff Pennington is also a free agent from the Angels.  Much like Barney he can play all three positions.  Pennington’s offense is a touch better than Barney, but his defense is noticeably worse.

The real utility man that is a free agent, though, is Eduardo Nunez.  

He has been linked to the Boston Red Sox where he played last season, as well as being linked to the New York Yankees this week.  For money and a starting role though and he would likely sign with Cincinnati.

Former big leaguer Brendan Ryan is also available.  He would be a great signing for Louisville.  Then the Reds could sign him, if Peraza ever got injured.

Next: Here are some starting pitchers the Reds could go after

That is the issue with a plan like the Reds have for 2018 and beyond.  Going into 2018 with a young, inexperienced shortstop could be a recipe for disaster.  Whatever plan the Reds put in place, it needs to be better than shifting Eugenio Suarez over from third base.