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In his final talk with reporters from the Winter Meetings, Sandy Alderson said if he ends up acquiring a high-end shortstop, it'll likely come by trade and not from the open market.

It still seems like the D-Backs are Alderson's best option to fill at short -- while separately hoping James Loney signs with Astros, which might create a bidding war between the Rays and Brewers for Ike Davis.

The D-Backs have shortstops Didi GregoriusChris Owings and Nick Ahmed, all of whom are top infield prospects, as well as Cliff Pennington, who is under contract through 2014. Arizona has said that they’re fine platooning these guys. However, I heard last summer that they were open to shopping Gregorius and OF A.J. Pollock to get pitching, so it would stand to reason that sort of move is still in their playbook. The Mets and D-Backs talked earlier this week, but they did not find any common ground (Rubin, Dec. 12). Of course, Arizona seems busy these days, reportedly trying to acquire Rays LHP David Price, who might require them to build a three-way trade to get the deal done...

Similarly, the Rangers are willing to move SS Elvis Andrus, but only for a big return (Rosenthal, Dec. 11). The way I understand from people who know the Rangers, because Andrus has such a huge contract, and because he has an opt out, teams are unwilling to meet his asking price in trade. However, the buzz from the Winter Meetings was that the Rangers are not sold on Jurickson Profar being a second baseman, so there is no telling what that means for his or Andrus' future. There is also the potential for Texas to get in on Price, and it's likely Andrus or Profar would be used in that deal. The Rays already have SS Yunel Escobar, so Texas is probably worth keeping an eye on...

Otherwise, according to people very aware of the market, the Mets were among several teams to ask about Escobar, Angels SS Erick Aybar and A's SS Jed Lowrie, but were repeatedly told these guys are not being traded this winter. The Angels are done, Joe Maddon reportedly loves Escobar and Billy Beane is clearly looking to take over the AL West...

The White Sox talked to teams about Alexi Ramirez last summer, according to reports in July. The Mets had interest, from what I was told, and I have to think it still exists. But, the only thing I've heard about Ramirez this winter, from people who know the Whits Sox, is that he is impossible to value. The Sox will listen to offers, but they have been unable to see eye-to-eye with anyone about him over the last year, and it doesn't sound like that's about to change...

The Indians are reportedly listening to offers for SS Asdrubal Cabrera (Rosenthal, Dec. 10), but the Mets are not interested (Sherman, Dec. 10). They like Cabrera, but -- thankfully -- Alderson appears unwilling to give up the elite pitching prospect that Cleveland is rumored to be seeking.

So, again, the way I see it, it comes down to the D-Backs, while keeping tabs on the Rangers, and hoping the Brewers get desperate and finally offer SS prospect Jean Segura. Ideally, Loney signs with the Astros, so Alderson can try to pry away Escobar or Segura. Otherwise, unless he has a rabbit up his sleeve, or things break very, very right in Tampa's deal with Price, I think Alderson has to either overpay the D-Backs or he has to sign a few scrap-heap guys and begin praying Ruben Tejada is in the best shape of his life.

Tags: matthewcerrone, avsny, MetsBlog , Andrew Vazzano
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