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Is this the golden age of MLB shortstops or a trend that will continue?

The past few years have certainly made it seem like we’re living in a golden age of shortstops.

First 22-year-old Fernando Tatis Jr., then with 143 big-league games under his belt, signed a 14-year, $340 million extension with the San Diego Padres. It was the third-largest contract in Major League Baseball history. That lasted a month before it was surpassed by Francisco Lindor’s 10-year, $341 million extension with the New York Mets signed on the eve of Opening Day 2021.

Lindor’s long-term commitment preemptively took one of the top players at the position off the free-agent market. Nevertheless, the lockout-divided offseason that followed was headlined by Javier Báez, Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Trevor Story and (longtime shortstop turned primarily second baseman) Marcus Semien. Seager, Story, Semien and Báez received four of the top seven contracts by total dollars that offseason. Correa settled for a short-term deal with a higher average annual value than any of them.

A year later, free agency was again dominated by an All-Star shortstop class of Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts, Dansby Swanson and Correa, back out on the market. Among position players, only Aaron Judge, hot off a historic season, signed for more money than any of them — even after Correa’s guaranteed total took a $150 million hit.

Aside from Tatis, those players are all approaching or just past 30, but the wave of potential franchise cornerstones playing short doesn’t stop there. Heading into the past two seasons, the top prospect in baseball was a shortstop — that’s Tampa Bay’s Wander Franco and Kansas City’s Bobby Witt Jr. — and both have since graduated to the majors. The World Series MVP last season was a rookie shortstop — and not one of those two.

That’s largely anecdotal evidence, of course, but it holds up to further scrutiny. Even though money isn’t a perfect barometer for production, it’s significant that eight of the top 30 contracts in MLB currently (ranked by total guaranteed value) belong to shortstops; that’s nearly one-third for one of the nine positions. The mega-deals these days have reached new heights by tacking on length, a proposition that perhaps teams are more comfortable with when it comes to shortstops, who can move off that position as they age and remain productive.

And, indeed, several already have. Semien became a full-time second baseman when he joined the Toronto Blue Jays in deference to Bo Bichette, a role that was…

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