The Astros shortstop dilemma


Now that Clint Barmes is officially a Free Agent the Astros have a serious dilemma at the shortstop position. Houston may attempt to re-sign Barmes but the price could be to steep. There are plenty of Free Agent shortstops on the market this off-season. Unfortunately for Astros fans budget constraints will limit Houston’s ability to sign a proven player. The Astros have hinted that Jimmy Paredes may be the opening day starter at short. I think that would be a big mistake.

Having an excellent defender at the shortstop position is a key component to winning baseball games. Don’t underestimate the impact that Rafael Furcal had on the St. Louis Cardinals storybook season. Furcal is one of several shortstops that will be available should the Astros wake up and see the importance of filling this cavernous void in their defense. Here is a list of shortstops that will be on the Free Agent market. Several of them could be affordable, even for the price conscious Astros.

 

player 2011 salary
Ronny Cedeno $ 1.85 M
Rafael Furcal $ 13.0 M
Alex Gonzalez $ 2.5 M
Cesar Izturis $ 1.5 M
John McDonald $ 1.5 M
Nick Punto $ 0.75 M
Jose Reyes $ 11.0 M
Jimmy Rollins $ 8.5 M
Ramon Santiago $ 1.35 M
Jack Wilson $ 5.0 M

 

I like Paredes as a prospect, but his minor league fielding percentages at SS, 3B, and 2B have been atrocious. Paredes was below average at 3B after being called up to the Astros late in the season. He had a habit of rushing his throws and his footwork looked awkward. Paredes does have a great arm, and that is one of the reasons he has been viewed as a prospect at the position. But I think his overall defensive skill set screams outfielder. Paredes has outstanding foot speed that would be better utilized in the outfield. He is fast enough to cover the spacious center-field area of Minute Maid Park and his arm is strong enough to play in right. Paredes jumped from AA to the big leagues in 2011 at the age of 22. The Astros would be wise to put Paredes in the outfield at AAA in 2012 and find an experienced shortstop.

Jimmy Paredes minor league Fielding statistics

Year Age Tm Lg Lev G Ch PO A E DP Fld%
2007 18 Yankees 1 DOSL FRk SS 15 73 29 38 6 3 .918
2007 18 Yankees 1 DOSL FRk 3B 43 148 28 100 20 13 .865
2007 18 Yankees 1 DOSL FRk 2B 10 54 24 22 8 2 .852
2008 19 Yankees GULF Rk SS 8 47 12 29 6 4 .872
2008 19 Yankees GULF Rk 3B 16 51 13 31 7 4 .863
2009 20 Staten Island NYPL A- 3B 3 10 2 7 1 0 .900
2009 20 Staten Island NYPL A- 2B 36 160 47 102 11 16 .931
2010 21 Lexington SALL A 2B 34 169 61 99 9 20 .947
2010 21 Charleston SALL A SS 16 78 23 47 8 10 .897
2010 21 Charleston SALL A 3B 7 24 3 16 5 0 .792
2010 21 Charleston SALL A 2B 71 355 131 201 23 37 .935
2011 22 Corpus Christi TL AA 2B 46 215 91 115 9 26 .958
2011 22 Corpus Christi TL AA 3B 43 134 39 84 11 10 .918
2011 22 Corpus Christi TL AA DH 2
5 Seasons 350 1518 503 891 124 145 .918
2B (4 seasons) 2B 197 953 354 539 60 101 .937
3B (5 seasons) 3B 112 367 85 238 44 27 .880
SS (3 seasons) SS 39 198 64 114 20 17 .899
DH (1 season) DH 2
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/30/2011.

Tags: Clint Barmes Free Agent Market Houston Astros Jimmy Paredes Shortstop

  • Stroscrow

    Clint Barmes is most likely done with the Astros. He reached Type-B status, and chances are Wade will let him walk and take the draft pick. As for the other shortstop options I would like to see the Astros make a push for Ronny Cedeno, Jack Wilson, or Jerry Hairston Jr. These are all realistic options price wise I would think. Unfortunately I bet that we wont make any additions, and we will be stuck with Angel Sanchez and Bixler.

    I also would not want to see Paredes moved to shortstop, but for slightly different reasons. He only played 39good minor league games in the minors at short, and he also went down with an injury right after that so his sample size at short is to small to judge. Plus, as far as third base is concerned he just converted to that position this year so struggles are to be expected. I would hate to see him moved to short because he just switched this past year, and to switch him again would be unreasonable and would not allow him to find a comfort zone. Paredes footwork did look sketchy at times, but that is to be expected as he was still raw and was not ready for the majors. Had he been given a full year of development at the position that may not be the case.

  • astrosince1975

    I didn’t put Hairston on my list because I don’t consider him a true SS. The addition of Bixler makes me think the Astros won’t look for another option at the position. What do you think of the idea of moving Paredes to OF and giving him time to learn in the minors?

    • Stroscrow

      It wouldn’t be a bad idea at all to try Paredes in the outfield as his speed would play. If they do try him at any other position (outfield or shortstop) then hopefully the Astros send him down to triple AAA to let him work on that.

      I am kind of torn on what I would like to see happen with Paredes. He was rushed to the majors before he was ready for sure, but he did hold his own, especially offensively. With that being said he had an unsustainable batting average on balls in play similar to Chris Johnson in his rookie year that suggests that he is a good candidate to digress also like Johnson did at the plate.

      Defensively I really don’t mind him at third. He did look awkward at times, but I would think that as he becomes more comfortable with the position he should become more smooth also. Looking at his defensive statistics he was still a better third baseman than Chris Johnson this year, so then for me it becomes a question of if not Paredes then who else. I wouldn’t mind seeing Matt Downs given regular playing time over there, and if the Astros choose to go with Downs over Paredes and send Paredes to the minors to work at another position then that wouldn’t hurt my feelings any. After allthe he was rushed and the extra development time in the minors could be good. If its between CJ and Paredes then I would rather see Paredes over there because the upside so much greater.

      One reason why I wouldn’t mind seeing the Astros stick with him at 3rd is that if you look at the depth in our system there is not a 3rd base prospect there until Lexington with Mike Kvasnicka. Maybe you could call Johnathan Meyer a prospect at Lancaster, but he has a lot to prove. Neither of those prospects are very solid, and have very low floors. They are also a very long ways away. Outfield at the upper levels is also a weakness, so that is a possibility for Paredes, and would be okay by me.

      Low cost free agent third baseman are also an option if Paredes, CJ, and Downs don’t sit well with you. Guys like Kouzmanoff and Brandon Wood are some of the more intriguing low cost options that could be a shot in the dark much like Bill Hall was this past season.

      • Stroscrow

        I promise there was paragraphs in there when I typed it on my phone, but it lost it all on the post. Sorry about the one big mess.