2021 Third Base Options
Wednesday, October 21 2020 @ 09:41 AM EDT
Contributed by: John Northey
Part 2 - the big position for question marks, with not a lot of options out there. Third base.
Guys on ML roster this season...
- Travis Shaw: 0.0 bWAR, 0.2 fWAR so not worth much this year, 3.6 UZR/150 in 2020, 2.1 lifetime. So a decent fielder (as he appeared) but not a wow one. 95 wRC+, 95 OPS+. Basically a treading water guy, doesn't hurt but doesn't help much either. Made $4 mil and will get more via arbitration this winter - a small non-tender chance, free agent after 2021.
- Brandon Drury: now a free agent (yay!) ; -1.0 bWAR, -0.5 fWAR; -7.4 UZR/150 at 3B (litetime -3.3); -6 RC+; 0 OPS+ (yes, zero); I wouldn't resign him for AAA let alone the majors at this point
- Cavan Biggio: We all know this guy, but at 3B he had a -13.4 UZR/150 (ugh). So ideally the Jays should leave him at 2B (4.6 UZR/150 this year).
- Joe Panik: -0.4 bWAR, 0.3 fWAR; 86 wRC+, 79 OPS+; -27.4 UZR/150 (yikes!). Soon to be a free agent. Good backup but not at 3B it appears.
- Santiago Espinal: 0.2 bWAR, 0.2 fWAR; 76 wRC+, 77 OPS+; 0 UZR/150 (just 7 innings) so not much known about his ability at 3B but a solid SS (7.3 UZR/150). No more than a backup.
- Vladimir Guerrero Jr.: No time at 3B this year, but in 2019 he had a -14.6 UZR/150 (similar to Biggio this year). So if any infield shuffling happens it should be Bichette going to 3B as clearly Biggio & Vlad are not good options there outside of a game here and there, ideally with a flyball pitcher on the mound.
So Shaw is really the only ML option.
Minor leaguers (using 2019 stats of course, and levels, anyone with 10+ games at a level) Ages are for 2021 season (as of July 1st)
- Andy Burns AAAA guy who has 7 years in the minors and 10 games in the majors, 266/334/423 career minor league line - basically a good backup to have around in AAA but if he gets a chance there is a big problem
- Patrick Kivlehan 132 ML games, 799 minors - an organization type guy, you bounce him between AA/AAA wherever you need to fill a hole
- Alen Hanson see above 2
- Vinny Capra: Age 24, in 2019 he hit 229/295/309, a 20th round pick in 2018, he might not have long left to prove himself
- Nash Knight : Age 28, 252/365/381 in AA, like Vinny needs to impress quick to keep playing
- Cullen Large :Age 25, split 2019 between rookie, A+, AA and hit 260/340/388, a 5th round pick in 2017, I suspect he'll get a full shot in spring to prove he belongs in the system
- Kevin Smith :Age 24 Made BA top 100 (#91) going into 2019, but hit just 209/263/402 in AA. A 4th round pick in 2017, he will repeat AA I suspect
- Brandon Grudzielanek :Only played 13 games, hit for a 369 OPS so he might be done.
- A+ - lowest level worth checking for potential ML'ers in 2021, #1 guy was Cullen Large
- Nick Podkul : split between A/A+ hitting 244/356/344. A 7th round pick in 2018
- Jesus Navarro : he better be amazing with the glove as he hit just 509 for OPS. Ugh.
- Samad Taylor : 216/325/364 Don't see much point in digging in here.
- Others of note
- Jordan Groshans: A top 30 prospect in MLB (via BA) going into 2020, he was in A ball in 2019 and summer camp this year. Hit 337/427/482 in 2019 in just 23 games. To make the team he'd have to have had an amazing summer camp and then would need to impress like mad in spring. I don't see him reaching until 2022 unless he tears apart the minors in 2021's first half and forces the issue. He could be a SS too as he has played more there than at 3B.
- Austin Martin: the top draft pick this year, his position is in drastic flux. drafted as a SS, but in college played 3B/2B/CF/1B
- Justin Turner:currently with the Dodgers, 128 lifetime OPS+, 135 at age 35 last year. 140 wRC+ vs 130 lifetime. Made $20 mil this year. -3.5 UZR/150 in 2020, 0.3 lifetime. Basically, if the Dodgers want to keep him there isn't much the Jays could do. Would want a 2-3 year deal most likely so it depends where the Jays see Groshans and Martin and if they think Turner can keep the clock at bay entering his age 36 season.
- not much else out there that I can see.
Trade opportunities (outside of guys who would force multiple moves like Lindor)
- AL East: Yandy Díaz (TBR - in prime, just reaching arbitration, no way they trade him), Gio Urshela (NYY - years until free agency - bloody hell, what a mistake by the Jays selling him to the Yankees), Rio Ruiz (Bal - 77 OPS+ lifetime, why bother), Rafael Devers (just reaching arbitration, no way he is traded unless they have gone nutty) - so no targets in our division
- AL Central: Josh Donaldson (Min - signed long term there), Yoan Moncada (ChiSox - signed long term), Jose Ramirez (Cleveland - signed through 2023 cheaply), Maikel Franco (KC - free agent after 2021, 109 OPS+ last year, 94 lifetime, entering age 28 season, 3.3 UZR/150 in 2020, -1.9 lifetime) the first potential target, Jeimer Candelario (Det, their #2 guy in games at 3B, but also played a lot of 1B, 135 OPS+, 93 lifetime, 9.3 UZR/150 in 2020, 2.9 lifetime - 3 years of arbitration control left, doubt Tigers would trade him at a reasonable price, but who knows)
- AL West: Matt Chapman (3 years of arbitration left, doubt they'd send a 3B to Toronto again after the Donaldson mistake they made), Alex Bregman (Houston - signed through 2024), Kyle Seager (Sea - 1 year pre-free agency, 122 OPS+, 114 lifetime, entering age 33 season, -0.6 UZR/150 in 2020, 3.2 lifetime $18.5 mil in 2021, option for $15 mil in 2022 - a good target imo), Anthony Rendon (signed through 2026, forget it), Isiah Kiner-Falefa (Texas pre-arb, 77 OPS+ lifetime, nah).
- NL East: Austin Riley (Atlanta negative bWAR so who cares plus still pre-arb), Brian Anderson (Miami - just entering arbitration, doubt even the cheap Marlins would trade him now), Alec Bohm (Phillies - first season and had a 136 OPS+, no way he is available), J.D. Davis (Mets - 4 years of control left, not available), Carter Kieboom (Washington, 47 OPS+ lifetime, pre-arb)
- NL Central: David Bote (Cubs, signed through 2026), Eugenio Suarez (Cin, signed through 2025 cheaply), Matt Carpenter (StL - signed through 2022, but a 77 OPS+ in 2020, 125 lifetime, entering age 35 season, makes $18.5 mil in 2021, $2 mil buyout or $18.5 mil in 2022, -2.6 UZR/150 2020, -3.6 lifetime, no interest), Eric Sogard (Mil - team option for 2021 but 52 OPS+ in 2020 so more likely a free agent under the 'who cares' category, did good here before), Ke'Bryan Hayes (Pittsburgh, rookie in 2020, not available)
- NL West: Manny Machado (SD, signed until 2028 for $32 mil a year), Evan Longoria (SF, signed through 2023, $38.3 minimum, 2023 is an option $13 mil or $5 mil buyout, 97 OPS+ last year, 16.4 UZR/150 in 2020, 8.7 lifetime - hmmm), Nolan Arenado (Col: owed $199 mil over 6 years but has opt out after 2021, gold glove every year 120 OPS+ lifetime but just 84 last year, team suspected to be looking to save money), Eduardo Escobar (Ari, 61 OPS+ last year 97 lifetime, entering age 32 season, last year of contract but just $7.7 mil 0.7 UZR/150 in 2020, 0.9 lifetime)
So a few potential targets - Franco from KC (a meh choice), Seager (Seattle) who is potentially best (1 year, good bat, good defense), Longoria would be interesting (SF) with a decent bat and great D, Arendo would be amazing but expensive, the rest are either not available unless the Jays send far too much back or the teams GM goes insane. Longoria looks like the best option - league average offense, great defense, on a poor team (4 years under 500 now) and owed roughly $43 mil ($7 mil paid by Rays, $5 mil is to reject his option in 2023) over 2 years (option for 3rd is for $13 mil) but entering his age 35 season. If the price isn't high I'd go for it. Would give kids time to develop and would be a solid defensive player in the infield.
So, what are the box's thoughts? Do you all like the Longoria idea, or maybe Seager, or go for Turner? Or blow a ton on Arendo? Or none of the above and hope to get another year out of Shaw while waiting for Groshans or Martin or someone else, or do the 'trade for another position and move everyone else around'? .Lots of options.