Now that Castro’s gone, Jeff Keppinger is the only legitimate SS I can see on the roster.

This is more than a trivial question – guys get hurt all the time, and it’s going to be some time before Gonzalez returns.  Brandon Phillips has the most experience on the roster: 19 innings at short, including 1 last year. Despite the protests about letting him focus on 2b, I think that Phillips needs to be the emergency shortstop until this roster gets cleaned up. (I’m glad Hairston had a great game tonight, but does he add anything that Freel and Hopper don’t?  And Ross is supposedly coming back Wednesday.)

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17 Responses

  1. Mark T

    You can bet that WK is on the phone. A trade of AG is not out of the question, with a backup ss in return. Just guessin’.

  2. Bill

    Would would want Gonzalez with an overprice multiyear contract?

    Didn’t Phillips play SS all through the minors?

  3. GregD

    Phillips played mostly SS in the minors up until his first promotion to the bigs. He played 2B with Cleveland because Omar Vizquel was at SS. When he got sent back down, he split time between 2B and SS with Johnny Peralta splitting time between SS and 3B. Peralta got the call to play SS for Cleveland when Vizquel left, and Phillips was eventually traded to Cincinnati. Why he’s played so few games at SS in Cincinnati, I still don’t quite get.

    Freel’s played some SS in the minors, but it’s been a little over 10 years since he had more than a couple of games in a seasons at that position.

    Hairston’s experience is similar to Freel’s. Last played there in more than a couple of games back in 1997/98.

  4. beavertucky

    hairston was playing ss in l’ville before being called up, so i’d bet it’s him, though i would hope not for long…who else could they pull from the minors to play in a pinch?

  5. Joel

    The more important question: Who is the 5th center fielder???? What happens if Freel, Hopper, Patterson, and Hairston all collide with each other? You laugh, but if Freel’s involved it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

  6. Mr. Redlegs

    Janish is on the 40-man, so he’d likely get the call. But remember: Baker really liked Rosales in the spring.

    Narron tried Phillips at SS a few games near the end of 2006, and while he had only one error, I believe, the assessment was he didn’t charge well and, particularly, his first step wasn’t that quick for a SS.

    Shortstops coming out of high school and college are often switched to more natural positions. Scouts love the athleticism of these guys. I believe Eric Davis was a shortstop. So was Ryne Sandberg. Just because they played the position even at the high levels of the minors doesn’t mean it’s their best majors position. The Reds went through this with Oester. You find a guy who is Gold Glove quality at a position you really don’t mess with that.

  7. Mark in CC

    Louisville SS Paul Janish has a big league glove and is on the 40 man roster. Not going to hit big but could get by for a week or two if needed.

  8. John

    I was gonna say…it’s not like they have no shortstops in the organization. Do what most other teams would do and call up someone like Janish.

  9. Tampa Red


    I really don’t think Gonzo’s contract is overpriced. I’m going off of memory, but it seems like he makes about $5 million a year.

    For a really good defensive SS with some pop in his bat, that’s a pretty reasonable contract. And it’s only for one more year.

    If/when he gets healthy and goes out on a rehab assignement, I can see plenty of interest in Gonzalez by other teams.

    I’m not sure I would trade him. As impressed as I have been by Keppinger, I can’t help but think of Chris Stynes(?). I need another 50 games and 200 AB’s before I will be a TRUE believer.

  10. beavertucky

    gonzalez would be an ideal candidate for a bench player to spell kepp, or when kepp is used at 1B when hatteberg is gone. gives us a little rh pop off the bench, and a late inning defensive replacement…that’s a pretty big chunk of change to pay a bench player, but i don’t see how you take the job away from kepp at this point.

  11. Andy

    I don’t really see what the big deal is , especially since everybody has been calling Castro dead weight since the beginning of spring training. We’ve got guys that can fill-in in a pinch, and if Kep goes down for an extended period of time, we can always call a glove up from the farm as mentioned above.

  12. Chris

    It’s not a big deal if it’s for a week. It’s a big deal if they plan to go without a backup SS for the entire season. Freel and Hairston are as valid options at SS as Hatteberg is behind the plate – maybe good enough to finish a game, but you can’t start them there.

    Just an odd roster all around:
    * 3 catchers (when Ross returns)
    * 2 lefty 1bs
    * 3 short, fast, RH outfielders
    * 3 “starting” OFs who hit from the left side

  13. Tampa Red

    Chris makes an excellent point, and one that has been nagging at me.

    Individually, I don’t have a real problem with the makeup of the bench. But taken as a whole, it has some flaws.

    I don’t see how you can go all season with 3 catchers (even though one is a switch-hitter who can play first), two left-handed 1B’s and 3 guys (Hopper, Freel and Hairston) who who are remarkably similiar.

    Nothing against any of these players at all, but to round out the bench, I think either Hatteburg or Valentin need to be moved, and Hopper as well.

    If it were my team, I’d get what I could for Valentin and Hopper and keep Hatteburg as my lefty PH specialist. I’d then bring up Andy Phillips and Paul Janish until Gonzalez got healthy.

  14. jason1972

    The Cincinnati Enquirer just reported that Wayne Krivsky has been fired.

  15. jason1972

    He is being replaced by Walt Jocketty. A press conference is to be held this afternoon.

  16. Brandon

    I don’t really see the big deal either, it’s not like Keppinger would sit out more than a game a week (not even that often) for rest. Surely Freel/Phillips/Hairston…somebody can get us through 2 or 3 games at short without a bunch of errors.

  17. Brandon

    When Gonzo gets back I’d say Hopper is the odd man out…I hate to say that because I really like him but he isn’t exactly sniffing much of the field, Thom Brennaman noticed this other day as well. I prefer Hopper over Freel because I just cringe when Freel starts swinging the bat but I know many people have differing opinions of that…but I think you’d have to say one of them is drawing the short straw when Alex gets back. I want to know how they’re going to figure out the Ross situation with Bako swinging the bat well, is Valentin the odd man out?