With the free agent compensation picture in focus, the Hot Stove Season seems to have sparked. We’ve seen news surrounding mid- and low-tier free agents, particularly those who qualified as a Type A or a Type B free agent, but whose team declined to offer arbitration. One of those is Edgar Renteria, who appears headed to San Fran to man short for the Giants. The Tigers did not offer arbitration to the 33-year-old, who posted a wOBA of just .308 last season after two solid years in Atlanta.
Look at the guy’s baseball reference page. Is he someone you want holding down shortstop for your team? He looks pretty average to me. He’s basically had two standout years, a couple of solid years, and then mediocrity. Yet he was the first shortstop to find a home this off-season.
Then, not long before I wrote this, the Cardinals acquired Khalil Greene from the Padres. Ugh. Dude’s OBP’d over .300 twice in his career, which spans more or less five full seasons. To me, he looks like a former first-round pick who got a lot of hype coming off a damn fine debut in 2004 (.273/.349/.446). He’s been nothing but a disaster since. He did hit 27 homers in 2007, but given the rest of his career that appears an anomaly.
Both of these developments make me damn glad we have Derek Jeter locked in at shortstop. Yeah, sometimes we complain about his defense, but that’s mostly because we’re running out of things to talk about. You’d like to see some better range from short, but Derek makes up for it, and then some, with his offense. Plus, according to Dave Pinto’s PMR, Jeter fielded better than both Greene and Renteria — and Jose Reyes — in 2008.
The rest of the list doesn’t look much better than the above two. Raffy Furcal is clearly the best out there, though he comes along with the injury prone tag. Felipe Lopez isn’t terrible, but he’s another guy who’s living off the reputation of a couple solid years — though he did smoke the ball during his 169 trips to the plate in St. Louis. Orlando Cabrera? I’d say he’s overrated, but I don’t think many people hold him in that high a regard. He’s 34, never been very good, and is a Type A free agent with an arb offer. Cesar Izturis…nah, too easy.
The point is that despite the nitpicks we have with Jeter, we’re still damn glad to have him at shortstop. Can you imagine the Yankees starting the season with Felipe Lopez or Edgar Renteria — or worse, Khalil Greene — starting at short? It’s when we look at situations like this that we can appreciate The Captain even more.