[News] Examining where interested teams stand with free-agent shortstops

The top end of the shortstop market seems to be expanding now with the Yankees and Padres showing interest, bringing to 11 the number of teams possibly in the market for one of four marquee free-agent shortstops. 

It isn’t known how serious the Yankees are, and specifically whether they have the budget to add both superstar Aaron Judge and a big-time shortstop (they definitely have the revenue) or whether the conversations are merely a hedge in case the unbearable happens and Judge leaves (to that end, the Yankees seem somewhat more confident lately). 

In any case, the expanding interest means the majority of teams will be left out. The most interesting positional market this winter contains four great players in their primes — Carlos Correa, Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson — but the demand easily outweighs the supply. 

Turner is beloved for his speed-power combo, but some insiders believe Correa, who’s better defensively, has a bigger postseason track record, is younger and has no draft-choice compensation attached, will actually get the bigger deal. Word is, he is shooting at least early for a record total contract — though last year, off an even better season, his highest offer is believed to have been a $275M, 10-year Tigers bid. 

Here’s a full rundown of the 11 interested teams … 

Carlos Correa
Carlos Correa

Trea Turner
Trea Turner

Dansby Swanson
Dansby Swanson

Xander Bogaerts
Xander Bogaerts

1. Dodgers. They believe Turner prefers to go east (he’s from Florida) and while they love Correa they seem somewhat reluctant since he starred on the tainted 2017 Astros team that beat LA. Bogaerts and Swanson are also possible for a top MLB spender, with the in-house Gavin Lux looking like the final option. 

2. Braves. They offered about $100M to Swanson, and while he countered, one Braves person expressed pessimism, perhaps recalling how they lost Freddie Freeman. They like Correa but haven’t been big payers in the past. The homegrown Vaughn Grissom is beloved, and while one scout says “he’s not gonna be Dansby Swanson anytime soon,” infield guru Ron Washington’s recommendation that he can do it carries weight. Should Georgia product Swanson leave and they stay in-house, Grissom would compete with solid vet Orlando Arcia. 

3. Red Sox. Their own Bogaerts is obviously the most logical option. But will they finally step up and spend? They could even afford Correa or Turner and need to do something to erase the 2022 stain. 

4. Twins. They will try to extend their one-year Correa miracle and seem motivated. But if they can’t, they’d be more likely to move onto the next tier, meaning an Elvis Andrus type. 

5. Phillies. Baseball president Dave Dombrowski has strong ties to Bogaerts, and he looks like the most likely. The fan base likes Turner for his leadoff abilities, and Philly fits his alleged geographic preference (his wife is from New Jersey). 

6. Cubs. They are acting like they will spend after sitting a couple winters out. Nico Hoerner could slide to second. 

7. Cardinals. Their priorities seem to be catching and pitching, but they could move Tommy Edman to second base. 

8. Giants. Brandon Crawford has another year on his contract, so they might have to convince any shortstop to play second for a season. They have the loot. 

9. Yankees. They’ve been saying they’re likely to go with one of two rookies — Oswald Peraza or Anthony Volpe. But they have been in talks with the top shortstops, and could also play one of the kids at second. They certainly can afford to do both Judge and the shortstop. 

10. Padres. No one believed they’d sign Eric Hosmer, much less Manny Machado. But here we are. The Padres put winning first, and good for them. Fernando Tatis Jr. seems ticketed for the outfield. Ha-Seong Kim did a nice job filling in, but we’ve learned never to count out the Padres. 

11. Mariners. They’d have to slide J.P. Crawford to second, something they were reluctant to do last season.

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