Pitchers and catchers will be reporting to Spring Training in about three weeks but a slow offseason means there are still plenty of free agents out there. MLBTR already took a look at the center fielders and catchers still available and will now take a look at some notable shortstops.
- Tim Anderson: It’s no secret that last year was a disaster for Anderson, a stunning drop-off from his previous performance. From 2019 to 2022, he hit .318/.347/.473 for a wRC+ of 123. Last year, his line was just .245/.286/.296. His wRC+ of 60 was the lowest of all qualified hitters in the league. His defense also seemed to take a step back. Despite that rough year, his prior track record and a weak free agent class should get him a chance somewhere. Optimists could perhaps point to an April knee injury as the culprit for 2023, with better health perhaps leading to better results. Anderson has expressed a willingness to move to other positions going forward, but the lack of better alternatives should work in his favor.
- Amed Rosario: Like Anderson, Rosario also experienced a big drop-off in 2023, though not quite as precipitous. He hit .282/.315/.412 from 2019 to 2022, leading to a wRC+ of 101. The reviews on his glovework were mixed. Last year, he hit just .263/.305/.378 between the Guardians and Dodgers, leading to an 88 wRC+. The latter club, after acquiring him in a trade, had him spend more time at second base than at short. It’s unclear whether clubs around the league will consider him a proper shortstop or more of a second baseman that could play there in a pinch. The offense has been uneven but he’s always had good numbers with the platoon advantage, even in his poor 2023 campaign. The righty hitter slashed .282/.326/.442 against southpaws last year for a 112 wRC+.
- Gio Urshela: Going back to his 2019 breakout with the Yankees, Urshela has hit .291/.335/.452 for a wRC+ of 115. He’s also considered a strong defender at third base but has only had brief glimpses at short. While he’s had over 4,600 innings at the hot corner, he’s tallied just 359 at the six hole. His numbers there haven’t been especially strong either. He’s also coming off a season that was ended by a pelvic fracture suffered in June. He may be the most reliable bat in this bunch but he’s probably not considered an everyday shortstop. Then again, the dearth of attractive options may tempt some club to give it a shot.
- Elvis Andrus: The ceiling may not be too exciting with Andrus, but he has more reliability than the names ahead of him on this list. He played 112 games for the White Sox last year, missing a few weeks due to an oblique strain but otherwise staying healthy. He’s only had one full season in his career where he didn’t top that mark, getting to just 97 games in 2018. His .251/.304/.358 batting line translated to a wRC+ of just 81, not far below his career production, but he stole 12 bases and was still considered good in the field. His 1.1 fWAR on the year was easily the highest of anyone else in this post and he’s never been lower than that in a full season. Due to the aforementioned players dealing with rough years and injuries, none of these other guys even got to 0.5 fWAR.
- Adalberto Mondesí: The flip side to Andrus, Mondesí is not reliable at all but comes with a more enticing ceiling. Health has been a constant issue with him, as his 2019 season was the only time he got into more than 75 games, suiting up for 102 contests that year. Most recently, he suffered a torn ACL in April of 2022 and hasn’t appeared in a game since. But he had a strong run with the Royals from 2018 to 2021 when he was able to take the field. He hit 35 home runs in 1,103 plate appearances, though a 4.3% walk rate kept his on-base percentage low. His .261/.293/.445 batting line translated to a wRC+ of 92 but he paired that with strong defense and 114 stolen bases in 271 games. He produced 7.4 fWAR in that time, not even two full seasons’ worth of contests. The health issues will give clubs plenty of pause but he’s still just 28 years old and is almost two years removed from his ACL surgery at this point.