As has been the case all spring, the most compelling battle on the Red Sox roster is found at the end of the bench. With Blake Swihart all but locking up one of the final two spots, it’s seemingly down to Brock Holt, Deven Marrero and Tzu- Wei Lin for the last slot on the Red Sox bench. If Marrero does not make the cut, he is out of minor-league options and thus would have to be placed on waivers. However, according to Nick Cafardo as part of his Sunday Notes column, Boston has received some interest in their glove-first shortstop in recent days. It should be noted, of course, that it seems very likely Boston would be leaking this information, as it would benefit them if other teams felt pressure to move on Marrero before he got to waivers. That way, the Red Sox would at least get something back for the infielder rather than losing him for nothing. That aside, given Marrero’s superb defense all around the infield it does make sense that some teams could be interested despite his lackluster (to put it nicely) bat. I looked at the rosters for every team in the league and found ten teams that could have at least marginal interest in Marrero. Let’s take a look at them, shall we?
Chicago White Sox
The White Sox are set in their starting middle infield for the foreseeable future with Yoan Moncada and Tim Anderson, but they could use a little help on the bench. Right now, their two projected backup infielders are Leury Garcia and Tyler Saladino. The former is solid but can’t really play shortstop, and the latter can’t hit and isn’t as good a defensive player as Marrero. He does have a killer ‘stache, though, and that needs to be considered. Without much middle infield help coming up through the system soon, I could see the White Sox wanting Marrero, though not for a big price.
Kansas City Royals
The Royals are in a weird spot between being a rebuilding team and one that could conceivably hope to be decent in 2018. Marrero isn’t someone that would set them on any specific path, though. Kansas City has Alcides Escobar back as their starter for some reason, but their bench is weak with Ryan Goins projected as their backup shortstop at the moment. Of course, they also have prospect Raul Mondesi coming up. In fact, he’s probably ready now though the team hasn’t been willing to use him for some unknown reason. If they want to keep Mondesi down for a while I could see them showing interest in Marrero, though it wouldn’t make a ton of sense to me.
This might be a bit of a longshot, and really it depends on how Cleveland feels about Jose Ramirez playing shortstop if the need arises. With Francisco Lindor they won’t need help at the position very often, but the depth is short behind him. Giovanny Urshela is the only infielder projected on the bench and he’s a third baseman. They also don’t have much middle infield depth in Triple-A, though if the need arises they could probably just decide to cross the bridge when it comes.
Here’s a late addition to the list as the AL wildcard contender lost their projected starting shortstop for 80 games after Jorge Polanco tested positive for PEDs. With him out, the Twins will presumably start Eduardo Escobar at shortstop with Erick Aybar and Ehire Adrianza as their primary depth. They also have prospect Nick Gordon not too far away from the majors. They may feel they’re alright at the position without Polanco, but this is the kind of jarring outcome that can lead to strange decisions from teams.
When there’s a middling Red Sox player potentially available on waivers, you best believe the A’s are going to be lurking. Oakland has somewhat quietly built a solid little infield, but their depth at the moment is lacking. Chad Pinder is their shortstop depth right now, but he’s very much not really a shortstop. Of course, Oakland also has Jed Lowrie to slide over when Marcus Semien has a day off, but then you’re left playing Pinder at second, which isn’t much better. Really, Oakland’s interest would come down to their top prospect Franklin Barretto. Presumably he’d be ready whenever they need him, so there may not be a ton of interest in Marrero, but it’s at least feasible.
The biggest issue for the Mariners this spring is that their entire team is falling apart limb-by-limb. With all of their injuries, it’s unclear what their depth chart could look like on Opening Day. They should be set at starting shortstop with Jean Segura and obviously have Robinson Cano at second base. On the bench, though, they’re looking at Andrew Romine, who hits like Marrero without the glove. In Triple-A, they have guys like Gordon Beckham and Taylor Motter. Marrero seems like a good fit for this Seattle roster.
Let’s be honest. After the teardown this winter the Marlins need help just about everywhere. Shortstop in particular seems like a glaring hole on their roster. Miguel Rojas is their starter, and he’s solid enough that a rebuilding team can go with that. On the bench, though, they have essentially no one. Peter Mooney, who has never played in the majors and wasn’t all that good in the high minors, is their projected backup infielder to start the year. Miami should be all over the waiver wire before Opening Day, and Marrero is a good fit on that roster.
The Reds are another rebuilding team, though they have more excitement to hang on to than the Marlins at this point. That being said, they could still use some help on their bench. Jose Peraza has some upside starting at shortstop, but he’s no sure thing and doesn’t necessarily have to play everyday. That would mean they could have a better backup than Cliff Pennington, who was Deven Marrero about five years ago. A rebuilding team should have the 2018 Marrero, not the 2013 Marrero.
San Francisco Giants
The Giants are going for it again despite a rough 2017, and in a tough NL West they’ll want as much depth as possible. They already have a good glove at shortstop in Brandon Crawford, but they could prioritize run prevention given the hitters hell in which they play half their games. With Kelby Tomlinson and Pablo Sandoval as their bench infielders, one could see them wanting a little more help, even if it just comes with the glove.
Another team that will be fighting in that tough NL West, the Rockies have a deep lineup but are a little thin in the middle infield. Trevor Story and D.J. LeMahieu are a solid double play combo to start, but they don’t have much of anything behind that duo. Ian Desmond doesn’t really play shortstop anymore and he’s slated to start at first base anyway, and Pat Valaika isn’t really anything special. He also may start the year on the disabled list. I don’t think this one is super likely, but it’s possible.
At the end of the day, there are plenty of teams who could probably talk themselves into Marrero and who would be helped by his presence on the bench, but there aren’t many teams who will be tripping over themselves to acquire the Red Sox infielder. If I had to pick the most likely destinations, I’d probably say either Seattle, Miami or San Francisco. Boston could end up trading Marrero, but I wouldn’t expect it to be for more than a player to be named later or cash considerations. My guess, though, is that he’ll eventually hit waivers and get claimed.