For the past six seasons, Trevor Story has manned the shortstop position with Gold Glove-worthy defense while providing Silver Slugger-caliber offense. However, the Rockies now face the ever-increasing likelihood that Story will suit up for another team in 2022 and must consider their alternative options to replace the All-Star shortstop this coming offseason. Luckily for them, I’m here to point out a few options from both inside the organization as well as a couple of veteran shortstops they could add from free agency.
Brendan Rodgers is likely at the top of the list for in-house options. In his first full season as a regular starter, Rodgers played a quality second base while showing signs of improvement and provided plenty of offense in the lineup. Rodgers played 26 games at shortstop in 2021 and had one defensive runs saved in the field while batting .279/.342/.397 with one home run and seven RBI at the plate. Continuing to have a solid spot on the field and in the lineup could help the young player continue to improve his numbers, but in a recent interview with Drew Goodman, manager Bud Black indicated that the team may prefer to keep Rodgers at second base and look at options elsewhere.
The other in-house option that ranks near the top of the list is Alan Trejo. He played in a brief 28 games with the Rockies in 2021 while appearing at shortstop in nine of those games. In those games at the big league level, Trejo played slick defense on his way to one DRS. He still needs to prove that he can handle himself with the bat in the majors, but down in Triple-A Albuquerque where he primarily played shortstop, Trejo batted .278/.324./569 with 17 home runs. He’s likely to get a long look at the position in Spring Training where he’ll have to make the most of it and prove he deserves the job.
Honorable mentions: Ryan Vilade, Taylor Snyder
Over the past few years, the Rockies have been hesitant to make a splash in the free-agent market after some unwise investments backfired on them. However, with a new general manager in place, the Rockies have a chance to dabble more in the market and bring in a veteran contributor to play shortstop. Needless to say, it’s unlikely they will spend the big bucks to bring in Corey Seager, Carlos Correa, and perhaps even Trevor Story.
José Iglesias spent the majority of the season with the Los Angeles Angels before requesting his release in early September, upon which he was promptly signed by the Boston Red Sox down the stretch. Iglesias had a phenomenal year at the plate in 2020 with the Baltimore Orioles but regressed to .259/.295/.375 slash with the Angels that fell more in line with his career numbers. The change to Boston seemed to help him as he batted .356/.406/.508 with a wRC+ of 148 in just 23 games. His profile as a high contact hitter would bode well for the Rockies.
The concerning decline for Iglesias in 2021 was with his glovework. During his time with the Angels, he had a career-high 16 errors with 10 of them coming on throws and he had a league-worst 21 runs below average at shortstop according to DRS. Still, he wants a chance at a starting job somewhere this offseason and the Rockies could strike gold with a cheaper deal as they did with C.J. Cron and try to refine his approach on both sides of the ball.
If the Rockies want to pursue a defensive first type of shortstop, they could consider Andrelton Simmons. In 1091 2⁄3 innings with the Minnesota Twins, Simmons had 14 DRS with 12 errors. His range is becoming a bit more limited with a revised zone rating of .757, but he can at least hold down the position with expertise. Gone are the days of his defensive wizardry with the Atlanta Braves, but at 32-years old Simmons can still provide some Gold Glove-worthy defense which is something the Rockies value.
His offense on the other hand needs improvement after a lackluster 2021. In 131 games with the Twins, Simmons batted .223/.283/.274 with an alarming 54.2% groundball rate. His strong ability to limit strikeouts and draw walks is something the Rockies should pay attention to, but he would need to prove that he can contribute offensively in other ways to avoid becoming a liability, especially with the number of groundballs he hits. Simmons earned over $10 million this season, but due to his age and lackluster offense, he may be able to sign at a much lower price that could end up being a bargain for the team with the hopes he can rebound offensively.
Honorable mentions: Chris Taylor, Freddy Galvis
While the postseason plays out this month, the Rockies can begin looking at the available options that could replace Story in the outcome that he does leave. It will be hard to replicate Story’s production, but the Rockies have a few cheap, serviceable options they can turn to until they pinpoint who their next franchise shortstop will be.
Who would you like to see replace Trevor Story at shortstop? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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The best signing the Rockies had for 2021 turned out to C.J. Cron and Bleacher Report agrees. They concluded that C.J. Cron’s production on a minor league deal that paid $1 million for his time with the Rockies turned out to be the best “bang-for-your-buck” among the first basemen in baseball this year. It was Cron’s production that secured him a two-year deal with the Rockies worth over $14 million.
As everyone begins to reflect on the Rockies 2021 season, there are bound to be some awards and honors that are bestowed. Patrick Saunders runs down his list of superlatives for the Rockies which includes Bud Black as the Most Valuable Rockie, Kyle Freeland and Jhoulys Chacin as the Most Valuable Pitcher and Reliever respectively, and the hiring of Bill Schmidt as the Most Perplexing Move.
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