I Can’t Believe We’re Looking For a Third Baseman

Remember those oh-so-heady times of, say, a week ago? We had one third baseman too many! We had two third sackers both hitting .350 or above! What were we to do with all those third basemen?

Ugh; how quickly things can change. So now not only is Andy LaRoche out for 8-10 weeks, but Nomar still isn’t playing after being hit by a pitch, and nominal backup Tony Abreu is still hurting enough that he’s got to go back to Philadelphia to visit his doctor after playing in only one game this spring. As Tony Jackson says,

Tony Abreu went back to the doctor in Philadelphia, Dr. William Meyers, who surgically repaired Abreu’s sports hernia last Oct. 3. The visit was scheduled because Tony continues to experience abdominal issues, as well as the right buttocks strain he suffered in the one game he played this spring. Club officials aren’t sure how to respond to this because Abreu, according to sources, isn’t very good at communicating what he is feeling physically, and that goes way beyond the fact that he doesn’t speak much English. At any rate, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the Dodgers need to get a 3B from outside the organization, especially with Nomar still not able to play and with Blake DeWitt having failed to make two plays in today’s game, one a liner over his head that he didn’t really jump for and the other a hot one-hopper that skipped past his glove and up the line for a double.

Fantastic. With that in mind, I thought we’d take a look around the bigs for available third basemen. I’m sure we’ll be hearing plenty more about Joe Crede (no, thanks) and Brandon Inge (NO!), but what else is out there? Around the majors we go! Let’s assume that we’re looking for someone with at least some MLB experience, and not a prospect. Also, no one in the NL West is going to help us.

Arizona – within division
Atlanta – they’re not moving Chipper Jones, and have no vet backup we could use.
Baltimore - If the Orioles are smart, they’d be thrilled to send us Melvin Mora. And since Andy McPhail took over, the O’s seem to be in full-fledged rebuilding mode, so I’m sure he’s high on their list to move. However, he’s got a full no-trade clause, so he might not want to move, and he’s due $18 million over the next two seasons. Plus, he’s 36 and his numbers have nose-dived the last two seasons.. no thanks. 
Boston – they’re not moving Mike Lowell, and have no vet backup we could use.
Chicago (AL) – ah, yes. Joe Crede. Still not interested. derosabatshatter.jpg
Chicago (NL) - they’re not trading Aramis Ramirez, but here’s an interesting name I haven’t seen come up: what about Mark DeRosa? He’s nominally their starting 2nd baseman, but they constantly appear to be on the verge of getting Brian Roberts from the Orioles. DeRosa played 37 games at 3B last year and 40 the year before in Texas, plus he’s got great positional flexibility – he’s seen time at every position save for catcher and centerfield. He’s not cheap at $4.75 million this year and $5.5 next year, but he can actually play (dig the .357 and .371 OBPs the last two years), and his defensive flexibilty could really make him useful even if we get back to our 3B logjam. I might like this one. He did have to get a minor heart procedure this spring, but is apparently going to be fine.
Cincinnati – probably not going to trade Edwin Encarnacion. Ryan Freel’s probably available, and like DeRosa can play all over, but he’s never once had even a league average OPS, and last year put up a brutal .308 OBP. No thanks.
Cleveland – Casey Blake just signed for $6.1 million this year, plus they don’t really have a good backup. Nah.
Colorado - within division
Detroit – Brandon Inge! I’m already sick of typing your name. And I still don’t want to trade for you.
Florida – Please. Their 3B situation right now is between Dallas McPherson, Jorge Cantu, and Jose Castillo. Who are we going to play at 3B? Who are they going to play at 3B?
Houston – Ty Wigginton? Unlikely. Perhaps Mark Loretta? He’s got some 3B experience, but not a ton. Plus, he’ll be 37 in August, which is fine for a short-term fix, but he hasn’t had even an average OPS since 2004. Not exciting.
Kansas City – Hey, maybe they’ll send us Alex Gordon! Esteban German is an option, as was discussed here the other day.
Los Angeles (AL) – Like they’d deal with us. And, like we’d want Chone Figgins.
Milwaukee – They’re not going to move Bill Hall, but hey – maybe we can get Craig Counsell! That worked out so well the first time.
Minnesota – Mike Lamb just signed as a free agent this offseason, so he can’t be dealt yet.
New York (AL) – What’s more unlikely, the Yankees sending us A-Rod or Colletti wanting Betemit back?
New York (NL) – I would be more than happy to take David Wright off their hands.
Oakland – I think we’re safe from the Chavez rumors, because we need someone ASAP, and he’s probably not going to be ready to start the season.
Philadelphia – I’ve seen Wes Helms’ name thrown around recently, because he’s stuck behind Pedro Feliz in Philly now. But is he the guy who OPS’d .965 in Florida in 2006… or .665 in Philadelphia last year? Not thrilled on this one.
Pittsburgh – Jose Bautista? Snore. He’s got some pop, I guess, but his stats paint the picture of an entirely uninteresting player.
San Diego - within division
San Francisco – within division
St. Louis – they just got Troy Glaus, and no one decent behind him.
Seattle – Adrian Beltre back in Blue? So tempting. But that’s a little more of a big ticket item than I think we’re looking at right now, and besides, Seattle has no one behind him.
Tampa Bay - Think Evan Longoria’s probably not available? Interestingly enough, the two names behind him on the depth chart? Willy Aybar and Joel Guzman.. I’m thinking “no”.
Texas – Hank Blalock is a name that’s been tossed around for over a year now, but he is the starter in Texas, and I’d be shocked if they wanted to deal him right now.
Toronto – Just got Rolen. No one behind him.
Washingon – Zimmerman’s certainly not going anywhere. Ron Belliard’s on the radar, but I’m not huge on him as discussed previously.

So where does that leave us? Inge and Crede are both very available and have had their success in the past, but aren’t without their warts, and most Dodger fans don’t really want to see them here. I like Esteban German as infield depth and to spell Nomar and Kent, but if the Dodgers are looking for more than just someone to fill in, he might be overexposed.

I think I might go after Mark DeRosa. But since that can’t happen until the Roberts-to-Chicago deal finally goes down, it might take the Dodgers interceding to make it a three-way swap. That said, this is just me speculating – I haven’t heard anything that says the Cubs would even be interested in dealing DeRosa, but I’d have to think that he’s pricy to be stuck behind Roberts and Ramirez.

- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness msti-face.jpg


If the Dodgers do anything, PLEASE DO NOT give up Carlos Santana for a third baseman.