This really pertains to 2013 and forward in general, but it is something the Milwaukee Brewers could toy around with this season. Colin and I had mentioned on Brew Crew Online that the Brewers’ shortstop position doesn’t really have a permanent solution. Instead of signing guys who have been way past their prime (Cesar Izturis, Alex Gonzalez and Cody Ransom), why not look for what we already have? With Gonzalez’s torn ACL, who knows how he’d perform next year. The Brewers only signed Gonzalez to a one-year deal with a possible 2013 extension (though that was only if he had 525 plate appearances which clearly cannot happen). Cesar Izturis has just never been anything special in his career so I really don’t think at the ripe age (and this is sarcasm folks) of 32 (33 in November) that he’s going to regain a lot of mobility that say, a 25 year old has. Cody Ransom really is just a player to fill the void for the remainder of the year and I really don’t see him staying beyond 2012. The thing about these three men is they all have age on them as they are well over 30. The Brewers don’t need “used to be good” (as in Ron Roenicke’s words describing Ransom) baseball players, they need guys who are younger and can fulfill these roles. I have three possible solutions the Brewers can use going forward.
Option number one: Taylor Green
Why not? Colin and I discussed before about how Green has had a significant amount of playing time at first and third in the minors and even fills in those roles in the Majors. If Green can play third base, he clearly has the range to throw from shortstop. The thing a lot of people will question is whether or not Green would be able to field a lot of the balls hit to him because shortstop is one of the most active infield positions. Shortstop does require an excessive amount of focus to play. There’s also the factor of turning double plays. While it looks easily on camera to perform a routine double play, it really isn’t. You have a limited amount of time (depending on how fast/slow the runner is) to not only make an accurate catch or throw, but also be to keep your foot on second. I really don’t think Green would have much trouble at short. He’s young (25 years old) and just made his debut in 2011. Sure, he doesn’t have the experience, but that only comes with time. With Mat Gamel coming back next year (and if the Brewers resign Travis Ishikawa), Green’s role at first would be extremely limited, providing he would get any playing time at all. At third, Aramis Ramirez isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Green has shown that he can play up here so there’s no point in sending him back down to the minors.
Option number two: Edwin Maysonet
Now I know it sounds completely hypocritical for me recommend him, but he’s a young 30 and has a fair amount of experience in the big leagues. With Izturis and Gonzalez out, Ron Roenicke has used a combination of Maysonet and Ransom at shortstop so far this season. While I don’t really think either one is a spectacular choice for short, I will take Maysonet over anyone else we have that currently plays shortstop. He has experience (I know only two years, but it’s better than nothing) and has only committed four errors overall in his career at shortstop. His batting average remains a mystery and we know for a fact that he isn’t a power hitter. While our offense is sluggish, typically a shortstop never really provides a whole lot power (unless your shortstop is Troy Tulowitzki or Starlin Castro), just contact, which is something else we can use and it’s what Maysonet provides. Is he my favorite for shortstop? No, but in all reality he’s more than likely going to be it next season if the Brewers don’t resign Gonzalez. He’s average pretty much in all regards, but he’s a better solution for the next few years than what we have now. Unfortunately, Maysonet was optioned to the minors today to make room for Izturis coming off the disabled list.
Option number three: Eric Farris
Basically, for Farris, just look at what I said for Green. However, Farris’ role can become expanded if Green does not play short. If the Brewers do not resign Ishikawa, then not only will Green be backing up Gamel, but also Ramirez at third. Farris then has the potential to take over at short (providing Maysonent doesn’t win the job either). Farris is also young at 26 and only made his debut in 2011 (though it was only for one at-bat) like Green. He’s currently in Triple-A Nashville, where he was optioned to after his debut. We don’t know what Farris can provide us, but he’s doing well enough to stay on the Brewers’ 40 man roster. While I really don’t think this option is going to happen now, it definitely has the potential to. Farris plays in the middle infield already at second and if Rickie Weeks can turn it around, then the Brewers’ second base position isn’t opening up anytime soon. Currently at Nashville, Farris is batting .248 with 13 RBIs, seven doubles and 27 runs scored. Let’s hope if he were to ever come up for a longer amount of time that he wouldn’t become a 2012 Rickie Weeks clone.
Will any of these options work? I’d hope so. It’s better than what the Brewers are going with now and really, based on that, there’s only room for improvement. Am I investing too much stock in Green? Probably, but he is honestly our best shot at a long time shortstop. Maysonent will turn 31 this year, so who knows how long he’ll have before his range and mobility start to slack. Farris basically has had no MLB exposure outside of his one at-bat so he’s a gamble too. I just hope we can find someone that’ll stick and doesn’t get injured. Until next time, go Brew Crew!