Free Agent Rankings: Third Base
By Chris Logel
Today we continue our look into the free agents for the upcoming 2014 season at each position. Third base figures to be an important target for the Marlins front office, and we have seen many rumors already this off-season that confirm that. Some of our other positions that we have spotlighted have seen a boost in rankings just because of their ability to also man the hot corner. Players like Mark Reynolds, Kevin Youkilis and Jhonny Peralta become possible targets due to their experience at third base. Let’s look at players who call third base their primary position.
Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
I feel like Uribe may already be a part of the Marlins. It really wouldn’t surprise me if we found out tomorrow that he secretly signed with the fish a week ago and has been working out in South Florida, that is how many people have been predicting this. I must say, signing Uribe makes a lot of sense.
Uribe swung a solid bat this past season, posting a slash line of .278/.331/.438. He provides power as a legitimate threat to hit 20 or more home runs. He could hit in the middle of the order and provide some protection for Giancarlo Stanton in the lineup. One concern that I have is his consistency. He has had some recent seasons that have been less than stellar, and the Marlins could ill-afford to sign him to a big contract (for their standards) and have him be a bust.
Even if his bat is not that great, Uribe provides exceptional value on the defensive side of the ball. He is an above average third baseman and has played all over the infield in his career. I believe that Uribe will receive offers in the 2 year/ 14 million dollar range. That would allow Colin Moran the time to season in the minor leagues and take over when he is ready.
I believe that Uribe likely will be the target, and barring a trade for a third baseman, I expect him to be in a Marlins uniform next year.
Likelihood of Becoming a Marlin: 8/10
Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Young is an intriguing option for a young Marlins team. He may be 37 years old, but he is showing no signs of durability issues. He has played in more than 135 games for 11 consecutive seasons all over the infield. He finished this year with a stat line of .279/.335/.395, and Steamer predicts much the same in 2014.
His defensive numbers certainly leave something to be desired, but that has to be expected from someone who has played almost 2,000 games. His position flexibility is a plus, and with the exception of a few run-ins earlier in his career about playing position, seems to be a leader that Miami could lean on in the clubhouse.
I believe that Young will sign a 1 year contract around 4 million dollars, which is certainly in Jeffrey Loria’s budget. If the Marlins believe that Moran will be ready after one more year in the minor leagues, Young could be an ideal fit for 2014. Look for Young to be a backup plan if Uribe falls through.
Likelihood of Becoming a Marlin: 5/10
I went through the rest of the free agent third baseman, and found it rather depressing. I really wanted to spotlight one or two more, but the depth is just horrible. To give you an idea, I think the most likely player to sign with Marlins at third base that I haven’t already discussed at some point on this site is Placido Polanco for round two (shudders).
Take a look at this list and let me know if you would rather take anyone else instead of who we have previously discussed.
Yuniesky Betancourt (32)
Wilson Betemit (32)
Jamey Carroll (40)
Eric Chavez (36)
Luis Cruz (30)
Jerry Hairston Jr. (38)
Brandon Inge (37)
Brent Lillibridge (30)
Casey McGehee (31)
Placido Polanco (38)
Cody Ransom (38)
Mark Reynolds (30)
Chad Tracy (34)
Juan Uribe (34)
Ty Wigginton (36)
Kevin Youkilis (35)
Michael Young (37)
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