Alex Gonzalez Tears ACL; Who Replaces Him? | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

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.

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Tell us what do you think.

  1. Jay says: May 7, 2012

    I’d like to see them go after someone like Todd Frazier. I’d see what he can do at SS (probably not enough range), but his bat is intriguing. If SS doesn’t work out, slide Ramirez to 1b and plug him in at 3b. Plus, I assume he wouldn’t cost much for prospects. There just doesn’t seem to be any good SS out there…

    • Ryan Topp says: May 7, 2012

      The problem with Frazier is obviously that he’s on the Reds, and it’s almost unheard of for teams competing for the same division to make a trade in-season. Not even sure how that would work, but would love for it to happen.

  2. 19er says: May 7, 2012

    my vote would be Jason Bartlett or Brendan Ryan. Bartlett cuz he is the best of the 3 at the top defensively and only has 1 year remaining so Gonzo comes back next year now. Or Ryan cuz he is also the best defensively of all of them and he knows the NL central from his days with the cards.

    • Ryan Topp says: May 7, 2012

      Plus, I don’t think either would cost much in prospects, like some of the others might.

  3. Kevan Feyzi says: May 7, 2012

    If he plans on holding onto Izturis, I think Melvin ought to prioritize offense in a shortstop acquisition. I wonder if Jed Lowrie will be available come July, he might be a good fit.

    • Ryan Topp says: May 7, 2012

      Lowrie was actually in the first draft of this thing, but I just couldn’t justify keeping him in without adding in a bunch of other guys I really can’t see being dealt because their team just has no one behind them and they have no real motive to do so anyway. The Brewers would almost certainly have to give up a pretty big time prospect to get Lowrie, and I just don’t see any reason they would do that. He’s off to such a hot start, so the Astros would be looking to really cash in or just stand pat, I think.

  4. Aaron says: May 7, 2012

    I know they’re both hurt, but what about Ramiro Pena (NYY) or Paul Janish? Janish especially seems to have fallen out of favor in Cincinnati.

    • Ryan Topp says: May 7, 2012

      Gonna be hard to do deals with teams that are contending unless they have a clear surplus, and especially one’s in the division. I tied to steer for the guys who were on teams that were likely to be out of it and those that potentially had surplus.

  5. Jeff says: May 7, 2012

    Jeff Bianchi!

  6. Luke says: May 7, 2012

    Wow, I can’t believe you guys overlooked the obvious. Clearly the Brewers could just trade an injured combination of Gamel/Narveson for Tulowitzki. Derp.

    • Ryan Topp says: May 7, 2012

      If Jim or Jack read this, we really need to get a “thumbs up” “thumbs down” thing on here so I can like comments like this. Not that the other comments aren’t good too, but this one just made me think “I want to thumbs up this” because it made me laugh.

  7. Jack says: May 7, 2012

    Could Greene move to SS? He’s already played 3b, 2b, and 1b and seems athletic enough to play all of them. Could be worth a shot if there’s no other do-able replacements, and Izturis and Maysonet aren’t going to get the job done.

    • Ryan Topp says: May 7, 2012

      I really would only do this in an emergency. He simply doesn’t have the range or the big arm you need to play SS regularly at the big league level.

  8. David says: May 8, 2012

    I heard talk of Braun possibly moving back to SS (the position that he played for high school and college) to allow our surplus outfielders more playing time. He probably wouldn’t be GOOD, but I can’t imagine he would be TURRIBLE. At least that way we can get Morgan/Gomez, Aoki, Hart mostly in the lineup without taking out Braun and give our offense a boost. (Also might cut down on his running and give his Achilles a break, but that’s more short-term if even realistic).

    • Ryan Topp says: May 8, 2012

      Braun is the owner of one of the very worst seasons at third base in baseball history, and that was half a decade ago now. I can’t even imagine what a nightmare it would be to have him at short 5 years later.

      • Jeremy M. says: May 8, 2012

        THUMBS UP.


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