Previewing the 2020-21 class of free-agent shortstops
Didi Gregorius has had a stellar season for the Phillies. Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2020 regular season having ended, there will be more and more talk about free agency during the upcoming weeks. MLBTR has already taken a look at the catchers and first basemen due to reach the open market soon. We’ll now turn to the shortstop position, where a few household names are without contracts for 2021.

Everyday shortstops

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  • Marcus Semien (30): It has been only a year since Semien was a superstar-level producer, as the A’s shortstop posted 7.6 fWAR in 2019. This 2020 season didn’t go nearly as well for Semien, however, considering he wound up with a .223/.305/.374 line (good for a wRC+ of 91 – down 46 points from his previous figure) and seven home runs in 237 trips to the plate. Semien’s Statcast numbers, including an expected weighted on-base average that tumbled from .367 to .274, also plummeted. It’s now up in the air whether the low-budget A’s will issue Semien a qualifying offer once the season ends. It’s tough to believe it has even become a question for someone who was coming off an MVP-type campaign around 12 months ago.
  • Didi Gregorius (31): Gregorius starred as a Yankee for much of his Bronx tenure from 2015-19, but he underwent Tommy John surgery before the last of those seasons and missed significant time as a result. Sir Didi also saw his production fall off a cliff when he was healthy enough to play, but after signing a one-year, $14 million contract with the Phillies last winter, he got back on track. Gregorius slashed .284/.339/.488 with 10 home runs in 237 plate appearances as a Phillie, and he struck out in a mere 11.8% of PA. He’ll be a QO candidate before a potential trip to the market.
  • Andrelton Simmons (31): Left ankle problems have weighed down the defensive virtuoso since 2019, when he also struggled at the plate. But, despite not finishing with a single home run, Simmons rebounded this year with 127 plate appearances of .297/.346/.356 hitting. The Angels will now have to decide whether to hand a QO to Simmons, who was a five-fWAR player as recently as 2018.

Utility types

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  • Freddy Galvis (31): He’s not the most exciting option, but a team could certainly do worse than Galvis. The versatile infielder, who has tons of experience at short and second, turned in another passable regular season at the plate in 2020. The switch-hitting Galvis concluded with a line of .220/.308/.404 and seven HRs in 159 PA. He has recorded a wRC+ of at least 85 three times in a row.
  • Ehire Adrianza (31): Adrianza gave the Twins league-average production on offense a season ago, but he struggled mightily this year, hitting .191/.287/.270 without a home run in 110 PA. He’s not about to hit free agency at an ideal time, then, although that could make the multi-positional Adrianza an intriguing buy-low candidate for many teams.
  • Eric Sogard (35): Like Adrianza, Sogard had a very fine 2019. Sogard signed with the Brewers for $4.5 million after that, but everything went south from there. Along with hitting a woeful .209/281/.278 with one HR in 128 PA, Sogard’s xwOBA dove from .342 to .250 in a one-year span.

Club-option decisions

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  • Jose Iglesias (31): Typically known as a slick fielder with an unimposing bat, Iglesias went wild at the plate this year as a member of the Orioles, winding up with a .373/.400/.556 mark and three homers in 150 PA. There are plenty of reasons to be skeptical about that performance, including a .407 batting average on balls in play that checks in 99 points above his lifetime BABIP, but Iglesias should still be a useful player in 2021 even if his offense returns to its previous form. Therefore, for $3.5 million (compared to a $500,000 buyout), it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the O’s exercise their option over Iglesias.

This article first appeared on MLB Trade Rumors and was syndicated with permission.

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