Cincinnati Reds shortstop
The history: This is the infield equivalent of the post-Edgar Martinez DH situation in Seattle. Since Barry Larkin's retirement in 2004, Rich Aurilia, Felipe Lopez, Royce Clayton, Alex Gonzalez, Jeff Keppinger, Jerry Hairston and Paul Janish have been temporary fits at shortstop. Now it's Orlando Cabrera's turn.
The outlook: The Reds have occasionally kicked around the idea of shifting Brandon Phillips to shortstop. But he's a fine run-producer and a Gold Glove defender at second base, and they risk messing up two spots if they take the plunge and move him.
According to Baseball America, five of Cincinnati's top 17 prospects are shortstops. The group includes Billy Hamilton, Miguel Rojas, Netherlands native Mariekson Gregorius, Chris Valaika and Zack Cozart. Valaika, the quintessential "baseball rat," is probably better suited to second base or a super-utility role than full-time duty at shortstop. Cozart, a former All-American at Mississippi, can really defend. He might be the best long-term bet if his bat continues to develop.
Until someone emerges, the Reds will be scrambling.
"It's one thing to keep changing left fielders," said a National League front-office man. "But you like to be consistent up the middle. When you've got a revolving door at catcher, shortstop, second base or center field, then it's an issue."