Exploring options: candidates for D-backs backup shortstop

February 19th, 2024

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- There is no doubt about who the starting shortstop is for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

“[Geraldo] Perdomo is going to be our starting shortstop,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. “He's earned that right. He's a great shortstop that's growing and learning offensively.”

Perdomo made the All-Star team last year when he slashed .246/.353/.359 while playing outstanding defense. Lovullo saying last week that Perdomo would be the starter is not surprising.

But Perdomo will not play every inning in every game, and who the D-backs pick as the backup shortstop will have ramifications on other parts of the Opening Day roster.

“We're looking for a quality backup shortstop right now inside this camp,” Lovullo said. “And you're gonna see some players get over there and pick up some baseballs.”

There are several candidates, some you might expect, and others you might not. Let's look at some of them in no particular order:

When I made my Opening Day roster projection last week, I heard from a number of people unhappy that I didn't have Lawlar on it, but if you listen to what GM Mike Hazen has said when asked about the team's top prospect, you'll understand why I didn't.

Hazen said that for the D-backs to keep Lawlar on the roster, there has to be a path to regular and consistent at-bats for him. With Perdomo starting at shortstop and Eugenio Suárez at third (for those of you suggesting Lawlar slide over there), there simply are not enough at-bats for Lawlar to continue his development.

I included Alexander along with Lawlar because the same goes for him. The organization believes both are going to be outstanding big leaguers, but they also need to continue to get at-bats to do that.

This one may surprise you because Rivera has not played shortstop in professional baseball.

However, the 27-year-old has played it in winter ball and did so again this offseason. Some in the front office believe he has the best hands of anyone in the infield and is a right-hander who hits lefties well. He could spell Perdomo against tough left-handed pitching.

Rivera said he feels confident at the position, and he will get some work there this spring to show what he can do.

Rivera is out of Minor League options, and the team likes and values him, and it's hard to imagine they would just let him go. So, if he can serve as the backup at shortstop as well as at third and first, that would likely be the best scenario for the D-backs.

Yes, the D-backs made it a point to keep Marte at second base last year rather than moving him around between second and center field, but he came up as a shortstop and enjoys playing the position.

The team has given Marte the freedom to take grounders at short over the past few seasons, as well as fly balls in center so he too could be an intriguing option.

Peterson has played 50 1/3 innings at shortstop in the big leagues, with his last experience at the position being one-third of an inning in 2021 while with the Brewers.

While primarily playing second and third in the Majors, Peterson could get a look at short this spring to see if he’s a possibility there. If he is, it would certainly increase his chances of making the team.

Newman was signed to a Minor League deal during the offseason and has the most shortstop experience of anyone on this list. He's also a right-handed hitter, which again helps, given that Perdomo would most likely get days off against lefties.

The one thing Newman has working against him is that he is not on the 40-man roster.