The other shortstop, Erick Aybar, has avoided the disabled list thus far after seeing meniscal damage to his left knee, injured on a Casey McGehee takeout slide Monday. But if Aybar does hit the disabled list, the Angels are suddenly looking at being without a major-league caliber shortstop for a long period of time.
Right now, the Angels are asking former top prospect Brandon Wood, handed the third base job out of spring training, to shift back to shortstop, the position he played for years in the minor leagues. However, questions remain with Wood's bat as he is hitting a paltry .156 in 128 at-bats.
The team's other option is a 31-year-old journeyman in Triple-A, so general manager Tony Reagins admitted to the Los Angeles Times that the team may have to look outside the organization for shortstop help. Of course, a lot depends on how long Izturis and Aybar are out for. If it's just the minimum 15 days, the Angels may opt to scrape by or acquire a capable fill-in that can head to the bench. If it's much longer than 15 days, then clearly the Halos will have to pursue a higher-caliber player.
Who could the team pursue? Here's a list.
- Ronny Cedeno: .235/.276/.333 in 204 at-bats. The Pirates are mired in laughable levels of losing even as the team graduates its best prospects to the majors. While Cedeno would be far from a solution, he could fit short-term and then head to the bench. Despite Cedeno's inability to hit, he boasts a slick glove and could play all around the diamond for the Angels once the team gets its shortstops back.
- Craig Counsell: .277/.330/.366 in 101 AB. Yes, the 39-year-old is still around -- and producing. He's a bench player for the Milwaukee Brewers, but that's another NL Central team that has to be thinking of giving up on 2010 shortly. Counsell is in his fourth year with Milwaukee and is signed to an affordable deal.
- Stephen Drew: .275/.344/.445 in 229 AB. If the Angels acquired Drew, it would be to install him at shortstop permanently. It's tough to imagine the Angels giving up what would be required for the 27-year-old, but the Diamondbacks intend to make just Ian Kennedy and Justin Upton untouchable in trade talks this summer, so the possibility is there.
- Adam Everett: .185/.221/.247 in 81 AB. Everett is an older version of Cedeno, but would be easier to get considering the Tigers just realized him. No, he hasn't wielded a bat in quite some time but his vacuum on defense will give him a job. It wouldn't be surprising if the Angels signed Everett to a minor league deal even if Aybar can return to the lineup immediately.
- Cristian Guzman: .297/.323/.369 in 222 AB. Guzman has an empty batting average, is a liability on shortstop and is owed $8 million. Other than that, hey, he's perfect.
- Cesar Izturis: .222/.277/.269 in 108 AB. The Orioles have their hands full with a meager 18 victories on the season, and Izturis isn't important to the team's future. Izturis is also defensively inclined. There's not much separation between Izturis, Cedeno and Everett, so the smart money, again, rests on Everett simply by virtue of Everett being a free agent, allowing the Angels not to surrender anything in trade.
- Edgar Renteria: .326/.372/.395 in 86 AB: Renteria has gotten his season off to a strong start, but most of his defensive value is gone. While he's been a bit underrated lately, it's clear he's on the tail end of his career. Renteria may be the best option of anyone on this list to fill in for a few months if needed, but one thing that might scare the Angels away is Renteria's numbers in the AL. In two seasons in the AL, one year apiece with the Red Sox and Tigers, he had a .711 OPS. In 13 NL seasons, he has a .753 mark.
- Ryan Theriot. With the arrival of Starlin Castro, Theriot has been pushed out of shortstop. What may may him unavailable to the Angels is the fact Theroit is now the Cubs' second baseman. While he's currently being benched in a timeshare with Mike Fontenot and Jeff Baker, the team hasn't indicated they don't still see Theriot as a long-term 2B.
- Omar Vizquel: .241/.301/.325 in 95 AB. The White Sox may be about to wave the white flag, and Vizquez would certainly prefer to play for a contender in what may be his swan song. Like many on the list, his value is in defense. That said, his bat isn't an embarassment like it was in his final year with the Giants in 2008 and at least has some life in it. Vizquez would also bring some notoriety to the club and the 43-year-old is known as a strong mentor. Given that Vizquel would come at a low price, he's looking like an appealing short-term solution at short and long-term backup.
- Jack Wilson: .253/.275/.347 in 83 AB. A move for Wilson would be rather unlikely as he's tied up through 2011 for $5 million, but the Mariners may make him available in trade. He's lost playing time to the hot-hitting Jack Wilson and has developed a reputation for being injury-prone.
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