Shortstop of the future?
Notice the question mark on the headline. That might be surprising considering that two of the Reds prospects closest to the majors -- Chris Valaika and Todd Frazier -- were drafted as and have played shortstop most of their time in the minors.
But I talked to a scout from another team about Valaika and Frazier for something I'm writing for Sunday. He sees both as making in the big leagues. But he doesn't see either playing short.
"I've got Valaika as a second baseman," he said. "His arm is a little short. His range is limited. But I think he'll make it because of his bat. I don't know if he's an everyday guy, but I think he can be an extra guy at the very least."
As for Frazier: "I see him as a corner infielder, either first or third, because his limited range. He could play left, too. He's going to hit and hit for power."
My guess is Reds people feel the same. Valaika played some second in the Arizona Fall League. Frazier played a lot of left in the Hawaii League. The scout was a bit higher on Frazier than Valaika.
This is why I wouldn't be shocked if the Reds are trying to get a young shortstop. Given Alex Gonzalez's health and Paul Janish's bat, my guess is Jeff Keppinger gets the bulk of the time there this year. Signing Jerry Hairston Jr. could change that. Keppinger is a nice player, but I don't see him as a long-term solution at short.
Yunel Escobar would have been nice to get, although the price would have been high. But that's not going to happen now that Rafael Furcal has decided he really didn't agree to sign with the Braves. Interesting twist there, eh? Furcal's agent probalby isn't going to get invited to Frank Wren's Christmas party.