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

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