Orlando Cabrera may offer value

Orlando Cabrera could be a guy with value for a short-term deal. Getty Images

Sometimes the conventional wisdom proves to be right; developing talent up the middle is harder, so teams with solid players at those positions have a leg up on the rest of the league. When you don't have those players, your choices come down to paying a lot for a star or a series of stopgap signings until you develop a player you want up the middle for 10 years.

There won't be any blockbuster contracts given to any middle infielders the free agent market this year (Jeter's contract will be big, but short in years), but there are a number of interesting stopgaps for the contenders to fight over. The Tigers already took one such player, Jhonny Peralta, off the market. Peralta's a very ordinary shortstop, especially with the glove, but as the only free agent shortstop under 30 and fairly durable, Detroit didn't want to risk losing him.

Players are ranked by their three-year WAR, as projected by ZiPS. All projections represent numbers in a neutral park.