SAN DIEGO -- This time last year the D-backs were searching for a shortstop of the future.
Now, they could have as many as three.
During the offseason, the D-backs acquired shortstops Didi Gregorius and Nick Ahmed in trades. Add to that Chris Owings, drafted out of high school by the team in 2009, and the position has gotten very crowded.
The team also has veterans Cliff Pennington and Willie Bloomquist on the roster. Pennington had his first three-hit game since July 26 and third of the year in Monday's 4-1 loss to the Padres, and Owings struck out as a pinch-hitter.
"It's a good problem to have," D-backs GM Kevin Towers said. "We'll see what happens over the wintertime and see where things are. We've got a lot of middle infielders."
Bloomquist is a free agent and Ahmed likely needs more time in the Minors, so it's probably going to come down to Gregorius, Owings and Pennington in 2014.
"Ahmed, who defensively might be our best, isn't too far away," Towers said of the team's 13th-ranked prospect according to MLB.com (Owings is third).
Gregorius got off to a hot start when he was called up in April, but has cooled since, hitting .255 in 100 games. Owings was called up for the first time three weeks ago, and D-backs manager Kirk Gibson has been trying to juggle playing time between the two with Pennington usually the odd man out -- though he did start Monday's game against the Padres.
Unless something changes during the offseason, next year it could be more of the same, as Towers did not rule out Owings and Gregorius sharing time once again.
"You'd like to see them getting a lot of at-bats," Towers said. "But if it becomes a platoon situation where one's facing lefties, one's facing righties, who's got the hot hand, you could probably make it work."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.