Cincinnati Reds: Any long-term shortstop commitments should be avoided

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 30: Marcus Semien #10 of the Oakland Athletics bats. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 30: Marcus Semien #10 of the Oakland Athletics bats. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images) /

The Reds haven’t had a consistent starting shortstop since 2017.

Ever since Zack Cozart signed with the Los Angeles Angels following his All-Star season in 2017, the Cincinnati Reds have been searching for his replacement. While Cozart was not an elite-level shortstop, the Reds have missed the consistency of a reliable glove capable of playing, arguably, the most important position on the diamond.

Cincinnati will be looking to upgrade the shortstop position this offseason. As it stands, Kyle Farmer would be the likely starter heading into 2021. Farmer is a solid player who proved capable of handling the position defensively last season, but his calling card is as a versatile utility player, not an everyday starter.

The Reds have other options, such as plugging in former first-round pick Alex Blandino at shortstop, though the Stanford alum is in the same position as Farmer. Blandino is a complimentary player, not a starter.

One more player within the Cincinnati Reds organization who could finally get his chance to shine is longtime prospect Alfredo Rodriguez. He has the defensive skillset to be a Gold Glove-caliber player at shortstop, but his hitting has always lagged behind. However, a positive showing during the Dominican Winter League last year may put Rodriguez on the Reds radar heading into spring training.

It’s much more likely that Cincinnati’s front office looks to upgrade the position through free agency. The trade route is also a possibility, but I think it’s time for fans to give up their dreams of landing four-time All-Star Francisco Lindor.

With the market for shortstops about to explode next offseason, any commitment the Reds make this offseason should not be for the longterm. José García is the future of the position, and with teams across Major League Baseball looking to cut costs, having a valuable young prospect like García could give the Reds a quality shortstop for the next several years.

The problem is, García’s time is not now. Cincinnati called up their No. 6 ranked prospect last season after the team was virtually out of playoff contention. The Reds miraculously found their way into the playoffs, but to say García was a big reason why is not an accurate statement.

For a player making his MLB debut during a pandemic-shortened season, José García played admirably, but a .206 on-base percentage screams more minor league games are on the horizon for the 21-year-old.

There are several quality shortstops available this winter, including Marcus Semien who finished third in the MVP voting in 2019. MLB Trade Rumors projects Semien to sign a one-year deal worth $15M, but his agent is angling for a much bigger contract. Andrelton Simmons, who’s glove is among the best in the league, is also predicted to sign a one-year contract.

Didi Gregorius is the best of the bunch available, though Semien would have a solid argument. The problem with Gregorius will be negotiating a contract. The former Reds farmhand, who accepted one-year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies last winter, is likely seeking a multi-year contract this offseason.

Lorenzen is ready to start in 2021. Next

José García should be the Cincinnati Reds starting shortstop in 2022. Any upgrade the front office wishes to make to the position this winter needs to be of the short-term variety. A one-year contract or a deal that contains a team-option for 2022 should be the only kind offered by the Reds front office.