Improving the 2014 Dodgers: Third Base

uribe_colorado_2013-07-13With all the insanity of the last few days, I’m almost terrified to look at actual roster decisions, because it feels like the managerial decision could shake loose at any second. I mean, it can’t be seen as a good sign for Don Mattingly that he got on a plane back to Indiana just before Ned Colletti fired his bench coach — and which takes him out of town during this crucial period — but then again, who locks in a coaching staff in preparation for a new manager to not be able to make his own choices?

That in mind, we continue the look at 2014 areas of need, which we started with second base earlier this week and which will continue through the rotation, bullpen, and bench…

The Incumbent: I still can’t believe Juan Uribe‘s turnaround. It’s just incomprehensible, going from one of the five most hated Dodgers in history in 2011-12 to lovable, productive, arguably star-level Uribear after Luis Cruz imploded. He was fantastic on defense and in the clubhouse, he was adequate on offense, good enough to be a top-ten third baseman, he provided the single most memorable moment of a game I saw in person this year with his NLDS homer… and I have absolutely no idea how to value him. I really don’t. He turns 35 next year, and what is he? If he gives you another 2013, wonderful, but it’s also not that hard to see him turning back into a pumpkin, and then, yes: Haters are gonna hate. Someone’s going to give him two guaranteed years. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

Organizational Options: Just like at second base, nothing at all. Brian Barden made 90 starts for Albuquerque, and it’s not going to be him. Corey Seager is at least a year away or more, and he’s still a shortstop in the minors. I think we’ll always hear people wanting to push Hanley Ramirez over, but the team seems committed to keeping him happy, and it’s not like there’s an internal shortstop pushing for such a move just yet anyway.

Trade Options: Not a lot, with Chase Headley the most interesting name, as he’s been for years. Headley enters his final year before free agency without an extension, but his breakout 2012 (31 homers, .378 wOBA) was followed up with a far more disappointing 2013 (13 homers, .330 wOBA). Of course, that made a whole lot more sense when it was revealed that he’d played through a left knee injury all season long before October surgery. Never tell people you’re hurt, kids!

Everyone seems to want the Dodgers to go after Kyle Seager because he’s Corey’s brother, but there’s little reason for the offensively-challenged Mariners to move him. One idea for a stopgap solution is David Freese, 31 in April. His 2013 (0.3 WAR, thanks largely to lousy defense) wasn’t at all as good as his 2012 (4.0 WAR), and while he’s only headed into his second year of arbitration, the Cardinals may prefer to move Matt Carpenter to third and give Kolten Wong the second base job. If the Dodgers believe that he can be turned around, he’s likely to come relatively cheaply. There’s also rumblings that the Giants would be willing to move Pablo Sandoval, but we’ve been down the overweight ex-Giant World Series hero road before, haven’t we? Similarly, Aramis Ramirez could probably be pried from the Brewers, but you’d have to feel confident in his balky knees holding up at 36. If the Red Sox for some reason keep Xander Bogaerts at third, Will Middlebrooks may be available, but he’s been so inconsistent, and Bogaerts is probably ticketed for shortstop after free agent Stephen Drew leaves anyway.

Free Agent Options: Other than Uribe, there’s almost nothing. Kevin Youkilis? Eric Chavez? It’s a mess out there, folks. The only truly interesting name is Jhonny Peralta, who probably needs a full post devoted to him at some point. He’s wildly inconsistent, with wOBA marks bouncing from .309 to .356 to .301 to .356 over the last four years, and he of course missed 50 games this season with a PED suspension. While he’s mainly a shortstop, he played some left this year and spent most of 2009 & 2010 at third; I wouldn’t say he’s a good defender, but shouldn’t be a train wreck either. Despite all the questions, he’s built himself a nice market by performing well in the playoffs, and considering how many teams could use some offense at short or third, he’s likely to get a decent contract headed into his age-32 season.

The Verdict? This is a pretty ugly situation. I’m still interested in Headley, with the hope that his down year really was related to the knee more than anything, but the Padres will still want a big return and I’m not sure how much I’d really be willing to give up for the single year he has remaining before free agency. I’m not completely against the idea of giving Freese a try, either, but as things stand on October 23, I think bringing Uribe on a two-year deal for something like $10-$12m is the most likely outcome. I still can’t believe I’m even typing those words, but the options here are so thin.

814 comments
Nineteen84
Nineteen84

Wow...though totally satisfied with what Uribe did this year, I wasn't thrilled at the idea of bringing him back....until I read this post and realized the absolute black hole of the 3B market...so now I'm on board, as long as its only 1-2 years. You know the defense will at least be solid even if he regresses on offense, and the rest of the lineup can account for that.

DavidGriffBecerra
DavidGriffBecerra

So Castellanos to Boston?

Would he get a ring if sox win it all? That would be funny

nsxtasy
nsxtasy

>> I think bringing Uribe on a two-year deal for something like $10-$12m is the most likely outcome

I think it's the best outcome, too.  Not all that much money, and you know his defense will be excellent.  And that's enough time to bridge the gap to Seager the younger.

Also, speaking of "younger", thank you Mike for never mentioning Michael "GIDP" Young in the entire article.  I know he's a free agent now, but thank goodness we're not stuck with keeping him around.

scottmbarrett
scottmbarrett

Just in case you were having an ok day, i wanted to remind everybody that the Cardinals and Red Sox play in the World Series tonight. Thank Jeebus for Jameson.

nsxtasy
nsxtasy

>> one of the five most hated Dodgers in history

Great idea for a new topic, Mike!  My nominees would include Jason Schmidt, Androo Jones, and at the top of my list, Frank McCourt.

Chris Jackson
Chris Jackson

New avatar, Bayern wallops Plzen 5-0 (coulda been more, too), there was an actual trade for me to write about soon, I just found out UNM is getting lights at its baseball field, and Ommegang's Game of Thrones Take the Black Stout is in town. HUZZAH!

Iron Brian
Iron Brian

Howdy, folks. I've been in court all morning and am just catching up.

Based on what happened, I think Donnie is coming back. As Mike stated above, you wouldn't rehire the entire staff if you are going to fire the manager and hire a new manager. It is possible that the Dodgers are already in discussion with the new manager and he's okay with the existing staff, but that's unlikely.

As to the firing of Trey Hillman. I think that might have been a condition of staying with the Dodgers. Or, perhaps, Mattingly did not want Hillman back, but didn't want to seem like a dick and fire him. So, Donnie flies home to Indiana and allows Ned to be the jerk. 

In any event, I think Donnie is back for 3 years and a 1 year option. 

Purple Drank
Purple Drank

@nsxtasy I agree. That's the best outcome.

Now, wait until he hits FA, gets a 3-year, $21 mil offer, and Ned beats it by giving him 4 years

Mike Petriello
Mike Petriello moderator

@nsxtasy he's mentioned in the upcoming "bench" segment of this series, but only in passing.

nsxtasy
nsxtasy

Vladimir Shpunt.  (Budweiser may say it's not weird if it works, but it didn't work.)

Iron Brian
Iron Brian

@nsxtasy Andruw Jones, by far. 

Not only did he take a ton of money and suck, he blamed the Dodger fans for not supporting him.

Chris Jackson
Chris Jackson

@Cadt He was always too aggressive at the plate. Just hacked and hacked and hacked away. Also not the most mature of players.

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

so he's like top 10 in our farm?

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

@AnotherBrian Well that depends. Its not like our other coaches are a bunch of scrubs. Each are pretty darn good so I dont see why a manager wouldnt be okay with signing on with them. Not to mention many of them were added before Donnie

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

@Mike Petriello @nsxtasy \

"And that is what I propose for our bench upgrades and concludes my segment on how the Dodgers should address the bench.

PS: I fucking hate Michael Young"

Chris Jackson
Chris Jackson

@EephusBlue @Chris Jackson He needed a change of scenery. Got pretty grumpy toward the end of the year. Then again, so did a lot of the guys. Made me appreciate those that did not (Buss, Angle, Gwynn, Ryal, Barden, Baker).

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

Not overall. But maybe only in position players. The pitching depth is too good.

Iron Brian
Iron Brian

@EephusBlue @AnotherBrian I was looking at that. Lopes and McGwire were post-Donnie. Honeycutt was the pitching coach since Grady Little. Wallach was a Dodger minor league coach but was promoted to 3rd base coach by Donnie. 

A lot of the other coaches had been with the Dodgers but were promoted. 

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

@Chris Jackson @Cadt He lacks the talent to make up for silly mistakes. At least Puig can make up for goofs by being amazing

Chris Jackson
Chris Jackson

@Cadt @Chris Jackson No, but he got yanked from a game once for doing something dumb, Bundy yelled at him in the dugout, and after the game he was goofing around like nothing happened. Even his teammates seemed annoyed with him that night.

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

@Chris Jackson @EephusBlue Im impressed that Gwynn didnt get more surly. He was on the big league roster for a good chunk of time. I would imagine he might be bitter having tasted the show

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

Oops, I thought you wanted the Terrifying Truth!

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

@nsxtasy @EephusBlue @AnotherBrian I doubt it. At least I doubt they were solely his choices. Hillman was selected specifically by Donnie. Lopes and Mac were selected because they are elite coaches at what they do

nsxtasy
nsxtasy

@EephusBlue @AnotherBrian >> Well Lopes and Mac didnt seem like Donnie's choices.

I'm sure anyone hired while Donnie was already the manager WERE his choices.

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

@AnotherBrian @EephusBlue Well Lopes and Mac didnt seem like Donnie's choices. I mean Im sure he doesnt mind them but when we got them it wasnt because Donnie said lets get those guys. So it might be misleading to read too much into the coaching staff getting extended

nsxtasy
nsxtasy

@AnotherBrian @Cadt @EephusBlue True.  And that's for all kinds of reasons - maybe he has guy(s) he's been working with that he trusts and wants to help out, maybe he wants to make his own mark and show he's in charge, etc.