The free agent market is always weak when it comes to shortstop. Some years there are guys like Jose Reyes, but they usually go to the highest bidders on massive contracts. Most teams hold onto their shortstops, and most teams hoard shortstop prospects. As a result, if the Pirates want a good shortstop, they're going to have to develop one internally.
That could happen in a few years with Alen Hanson. Until then, the Pirates have a decision to make. They could go with Jordy Mercer as their starter until Hanson arrives. If that happens, they'd probably need a backup for Mercer, specifically someone who could provide defense. They could try to find a starter to replace Mercer, shifting Mercer to a backup role, and a platoon role at second base. The options for starting shortstops are slim, making that route less likely.
Here is a look at the upcoming free agent shortstops, via MLBTR. Thoughts on the best options are below.
Robert Andino (30)
Clint Barmes (35)
Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.