We knew from the start of the offseason that third base was going to be an extremely tough hole to fill, simply because several teams needed upgrades and there were so few solutions available.
Over the last day, we’ve learned a little more about how the market is going to shake out. David Freese went from St. Louis to the Angels in a deal that few liked for Anaheim, and now the Cardinals are reportedly close to signing Jhonny Peralta for four years and more than $50 million. Peralta will be a shortstop in St. Louis, but he was viewed as a third base option for some clubs as well.
That leaves the Dodgers with even fewer choices than they had before, and they’re hardly alone there. The Yankees still need another option no matter what ends up happening to Alex Rodriguez, and the Tigers may be in the market if they move Miguel Cabrera to first but decide that Nick Castellanos isn’t ready on Opening Day. Other teams like the Marlins, Phillies, Cubs, & White Sox need help too, though they aren’t likely to be as aggressive about it.
So what are the Dodgers left with? Not a whole lot, honestly. Assuming Peralta lands in St. Louis, the free agent market is officially dead, since guys like Kevin Youkilis & Eric Chavez are nothing more than bench options at this point. You could try to trade for Chase Headley, sure, but be prepared to give up Zach Lee for the one year Headley has before free agency, or risk both the salary and health of Aramis Ramirez. Obviously, those are both imperfect options.
Unless you still believe in the unlikely scenario of moving Hanley Ramirez to third — which, aside from the obvious issues there, then means you still need a shortstop — then the best option continues to be bringing back Juan Uribe. That’s fine, but he’s reportedly seeking a three-year deal… and in this market, he just might get it. No matter how good he was last year, I cannot imagine the Dodgers doing that after the way his last three-year deal turned out.
I suppose it’s theoretically possible that Alexander Guerrero could handle the position, though it’s not ideal, and that leaves you needing to fill second as well. Third base is a problem that looked bad a few weeks ago, and is only tougher now. There’s not really a bigger question this winter than what exactly the plan is at the hot corner next year.