Early Tuesday morning outstanding Fox Sports reporter Ken Rosenthal wrote in his column that the Nationals are currently “actively seeking young shortstops” in trades with fellow teams. Rosenthal stated their interest is a direct consequence that cornerstone Ian Desmond has rejected numerous contract offers, including a rumored 7-year $85.5 million extension.
Obviously uber-prospects such as Javier Baez, Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor, or Addison Russell would be coveted potential replacements for Desmond, but unless the Nationals want to part with Lucas Giolito or a core part of their roster, those names appear out of reach. Therefore, for the purposes of this article, these are six additional prospects that could interest the Nationals if they decide to fill this possible organizational need.
Nick Ahmed SS Arizona Diamondbacks
Questions exist about how his bat will translate to the majors, but Ahmed is considered one of the better defensive shortstops in the minor leagues and is known for having excellent speed and quality baseball instincts. Ahmed could act as the Nationals backup middle infielder next season before taking over after 2015.
Arizona will continue to sell this month and with Didi Gregorius and Chris Owings ahead of him in the organization, Ahmed (or another Diamondback shortstop) should be on the move in the future.
Tim Anderson SS Chicago White Sox
Chicago White Sox SS Tim Anderson
Anderson is a raw prospect drafted by the White Sox in the 1st Round last summer who shows potential both as a hitter and defensively. Some scouts question if he is ultimately a shortstop in the majors, but Anderson has outstanding tools including excellent athleticism, a strong arm, and impressive pure bat speed.
Chicago is currently 3 games under .500 and 5.5 games back in the wild card, so they project to be sellers, but the White Sox have been aggressive dealing prospects in recent years, so perhaps the right offer could tempt them to part with Anderson.
Deven Marrero SS Boston Red Sox
Marrero has long been one of my favorite middle infield prospects since I watched him play in the Cape League many years ago. His baseball IQ will allow his solid tools to play stronger, as Marrero has a solid arm, good quickness, and projects as an above-average defensive shortstop. He will not hit for power, but Marrero should post reasonable on-base numbers while stealing plenty of bases.
Boston is struggling through a difficult season and will likely be a seller this month; however, with Xander Boegarts, Garin Cecchini, and Will Middlebrooks still seemingly ahead of him on the depth chart, the Red Sox would have to listen to a reasonable offer for Marrero.
Jose Peraza SS Atlanta Braves
Atlanta Braves Jose Peraza
Peraza has shifted between 2B and SS this season to prepare himself for a future position shift in Atlanta due to the presence of Andrelton Simmons, but he projects as an above-average or better defensive shortstop due to his powerful arm and quality athleticism. Peraza has very little power, but his career .303 batting average and .351 on-base percentages portend a quality top-of-the-lineup hitter in the major leagues.
Although an interdivisional trade between Washington and Atlanta is about as likely as a reunion between Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries, considering Simmons is signed long-term, Peraza will be one of the most sought after prospects at the trade deadline.
Raul Mondesi Jr. SS Kansas City Royals
Raul Mondesi Jr.
I do not foresee the Royals actively marketing him in trade discussions going forward, but as one of the elite shortstop prospects in the minor leagues, Mondesi would be on the short list of prospects of interest.
Luis Sardinas SS Texas Rangers
Another team struggling through a difficult season, Sardinas might be more available for trade this offseason, but the Rangers would have to listen to offers for him as Elvis Andrus and Jurickson Profar are ahead of him in the organizational depth chart. That said Sardinas deserves his own respect as a prospect, as he projects as one of the best defensive shortstops currently in the minor leagues, possessing a strong arm, quick feet, soft hands, and excellent agility.
Like most middle infield prospects, scouts question his bat and he will not hit for power, so Sardinas will need to make contact and draw walks to be a starter in the big leagues: nevertheless the 21-year-old has an excellent chance to develop into a quality major league shortstop.