Who will step up as the Cleveland Indians shortstop of the future?
The Cleveland Indians have a notable log jam of talent at the shortstop position within the ranks of their organization. Amed Rosario has served admirably through his first season with the Tribe, but the tides are seemingly not in his favor as a long-term solution between second and third. There are a few intriguing options that Cleveland’s front office could turn to, and it will be a speculation-filled offseason as Chris Antonetti and Mike Chernoff seek to sort out the potential options leading into Spring Training in 2022.
As previously stated, it doesn’t make sense for Rosario to be tabbed as the long-term shortstop, even with his solid season in 2021 playing into the equation. Rosario has played a strong brand of baseball behind good enough defense and a solid approach at the plate, but the reality of his situation is that he finds himself in arbitration both of the next two years, and the team’s control will only extend to the 2023 season.
While he would not command the kind of money that Francisco Lindor, Fernando Tatis Jr., and other soon-to-be free agent shortstops (Carlos Correa, Trevor Story, etc.) will haul in, it would make financial sense if the Tribe passed on his services in favor of one of the youngsters currently waiting in the wings. If the Tribe does hold onto him through the end of the team’s controlling years, he could potentially be a candidate for a position change.
Rosario could be a strong possibility at second base next season, opening up short for one of numerous middle infield prospects to step up into Cleveland’s lineup. The big question is which up-and-comer would separate themselves from the pack and seize the job, should that scenario unfold.
When Cleveland turns the page on the Indians and ushers in the era of the Guardians, there could be a couple of contenders vying to make their mark at short. Names like Andres Gimenez, Gabriel Arias, Tyler Freeman should already sound familiar to Tribe fans, but the likes of Brayan Rocchio and Angel Martinez could also become household over the next couple of seasons.