Posted by Steve
While obviously not ideal, losing Chris Narveson and Mat Gamel was manageable. Losing Alex Gonzalez, who joins Gamel with a torn ACL, is a different story. Gonzalez had been impressive this season. He came up with some big hits, but more importantly, his defense was terrific. The Brewers have in-house options Gamel and Narveson, but there are no passable replacements for Gonzalez currently in the organization. If the Brewers want to contend this season, they’ll need to add a new shortstop somehow.
This should be the focus. I have no interest in adding Derek Lee to play first base. Not because he wouldn’t help; he’d fit in nicely as a platoon with Taylor Green. But who actually believes Roenicke wouldn’t play Lee most of the time? He’s a 36-year-old who had a .325 OBP last year; Lee won’t help as a near full-time player.
So, much like we did a few months ago, let’s look at some shortstop options.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many. It’s too early for teams to give up on the season, therefore you won’t find many sellers. Two who are so bad that they shouldn’t have qualms would be the Twins and Padres.
Jamey Carroll was just benched. The Twins gave him a two year deal for $6 million. He’s 38 and can’t play every day. I’m not all that interested in Carroll, but he wouldn’t cost much of anything in terms of prospects.
The Padres have Jason Bartlett signed for $5.5 million this year. Bartlett doesn’t do much for me, either. He hasn’t reached a WAR of 2 since 2009, and Fangraphs doesn’t think much of his defense.
Gonzalez already had a .4 WAR this season (Yuni had 0.5 all of last season!) The Brewers aren’t going to find someone to play at that level, although Gonzalez wasn’t going to keep that up either. Bartlett and Carroll just aren’t worth the money; they aren’t that much better than replacement level at this point.
The Brewers do need a new shortstop, but the reality is they will likely need to wait until sometime in June to get one. That means it’s up to play well enough in the meantime, so the team is still in position to buy once others are willing to sell.
I’m not all that worried yet, to be honest. Rickie Weeks, Aramis Ramirez, and Ryan Braun (save for one game, really) have yet to hit their stride offensively. Yo is going to turn it around. They should be able to hang around .500 and be in position to add a shortstop within the next 4-6 weeks.