With Alex Gonzalez having suffered a torn ACL and likely out for the remainder of the year, the Brewers have suffered their worst injury to date this year. While Chris Narveson represented some inning eating stability at the back of the rotation and Mat Gamel possessed some untapped upside at first, Gonzalez was a plus defender and swung the bat with some power. While he wasn’t likely to continue his torrid-for-him .259/.326 /.457 line, his current replacement Ceasar Izturis can only dream of hitting anything like it. Barring something completely bizarre happening, Edwin Maysonet, who was called up to fit into Izturis’ role doesn’t figure to be any better. All of that leaves the Brewers likely searching for someone else to play short for the rest of the year, and the sooner the better.
The Most Likely Options
Jason Bartlett, San Diego Padres
We’ll start here, because it just makes a lot of sense and it could happen quickly if everything fell into place. The Padres have already made one “seller” type move, trading reliever Ernesto Frieri to the Angels in exchange for players of little immediate help. Bartlett was once a renowned glove man, who hit passably well and even got hot from time to time. He’s 32 now, though, has declined some on D and is off to a horrific offensive start, something that could help keep his value down but doesn’t figure to continue. He is in the last year of a contract that is set to pay him 5.5 million this year. What the Brewers would have to give up to get him would probably depend, at least in part, upon how much of that they’re willing to pay themselves, which is probably largely dependent on how well insured the Gonzalez deal was. This is probably the most preferable, likely option for a “quick fix.”
Ronny Cedeno, New York Mets
Their current starter, Rueben Tejada, just went on the DL, but when he comes back and the Mets are safely out of it, Cedeno is exactly the type of “glove first” middle infielder that ends up being traded every June and July from non-contender to contender. Don’t expect much offense, but the defense is still good and the Mets can’t realistically ask for too much for him.
Yuniesky Betancourt, Kansas City Royals
Look, I know what you’re thinking. The Brewers just got rid of this anchor, and now we’re talking about bringing him back? Well, yeah. He’s almost certainly better than what they already have and could probably be had relatively cheaply and quickly, once he comes off the disabled list. It’s far from an ideal solution, but we at least all know that it is possible for a team to win 96 employing Yuni as their everyday shortstop. Let’s just hope something better can be done.
Possible Multiple Year Veterans
Jamey Carroll, Minnesota Twins
Carroll just signed a 2 year, 6.5 million dollar deal with the Twins in the off-season, and really has only one plus skill. The Twins could look to put him on the market around the deadline and move him if the return is right and they really want to clear salary. His defense is sketchy at short, and he would require a late inning replacement, but he still knows how to get on base, a skill that the Brewers could really use.
Clint Barmes, Pittsburgh Pirates
Pirate fans aren’t going to be happy to hear people already eyeing up pieces on their roster, but this at least has to be entertained as a possibility for the right price. Barmes in a lot of ways is a similar player to Gonzalez: plus glove, solid power, sketchy contact and on base skills. If the Pirates fall out of it, they might end up listening to offers mid-year, though moving him within the division probably isn’t something they would want to do.
Younger Players With Control Years Left
Brendan Ryan, Seattle Mariners
Really, Ryan probably belongs up in the “most likely options” category, but he does have one more year of control left after this one, so here he is. He’s a great defensive shortstop without much offensive value at this point in his career, but he still would be an upgrade over what they have and is making less than 2 million dollars this year. Hard to say what Jack Z would take in exchange for Ryan.
Robert Andino, Baltimore Orioles
If regular second basemen Brian Roberts is ever able to come back from his concussion issues and the bottom falls out of the Orioles surprising season so far, Andino could become expendable. He’s a solid hitter for a middle infielder, and though he’s been primarily a 2B for a while now, he has experience at SS and almost certainly could still play it passably enough to start and perhaps later give way for defensive purposes. Would probably require a substantial return in terms of players.
Cliff Pennington, Oakland A’s
Pennington would be an interesting replacement for not just this year, but for the foreseeable future as he’s a true shortstop and isn’t even in arbitration yet. In 2010, he was worth 4 wins above replacement according to Fangraphs, but slipped to 1.5 last year and has struggled to find his footing so far in 2012. Of course, all of that means that the A’s probably aren’t overly eager to sell low on him at the moment. Add in the fact that they don’t have a ready replacement anywhere in obvious sight and it’s pretty unlikely to happen unless the A’s really want to avoid paying him next year.