Houston Astros shortstop Clint Barmes was hit by a pitch in yesterday’s spring game against the Yankees by pitcher Ivan Nova, and will miss 4-6 weeks with a broken hand. This will be the second starter to go down this spring with a significant injury, and third player total including Jeff Keppinger. Shortstop was one of the first positions that Ed Wade filled this offseason, and hopefully it will now be the last that he has to fill before opening day.
The immediate question on everyone’s mind is who will now man the shortstop position. MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart has stated that the Astros will consider internal candidates still in camp like Angel Sanchez, Matt Downs, Anderson Hernandez, and Oswaldo Navarro. He did not rule out the fact that the Astros may look outside the organization to bridge the gap until mid-May when Barmes would be expected to return. There was no mention by McTaggart as to whether or not last year’s opening day starter Tommy Manzella would be considered to fill the spot until Barmes returns from injury.
Angel Sanchez filled in admirably last year when Manzella went down with an injury, but does not possess the range or arm that you would like to see from shortstop. Anderson Hernandez can also play the position but has played second base the majority of his career. Oswaldo Navarro is an intriguing candidate and capable shortstop, but does not seem to possess the bat that the Astros would like to have in an offense that also holds a lot of question marks. That leaves us with Matt Downs who has the least amount of time at that position, but also possesses the best bat.
What do you think? Would the Astros be better served by looking outside the organization to bridge the gap until Barmes return with the internal candidates listed above, or should they look outside the organization for help?