Third degree. 18 comments

We have talked about who is available to play third this season for the Rangers. T.R. Sullivan must have heard us. He wrote about it yesterday:

Miguel Andujar: He hit .297 with 47 doubles, 27 home runs and 92 RBIs for the Yankees last season, finishing second in voting for the American League Rookie of the Year Award. Andujar is also a right-handed hitter, which would help balance the Rangers’ left-handed-heavy lineup. He may not be as accomplished or talented as Machado, but Andujar registered a very impressive rookie campaign. The downside with the 23-year-old is he did not rank highly defensively.

Maikel Franco:  He has been the Phillies’ third baseman for the past three-plus seasons and is good for 20-25 home runs a season. Franco, 26, has three years of arbitration eligibility ahead of him and like Andujar has poor defensive metrics.

Yolmer Sanchez:  The White Sox incumbent third baseman rates higher than Andujar or Franco on the defensive side, but he has a career slash line of .242/.293/.368. Clubs generally prefer more offense from the corner-infield spots.

Johan Camargo: The Braves stuck with him at third base instead of trading for Adrian Beltre last summer, and then Atlanta signed Josh Donaldson as a free agent this offseason. Camargo hit .272 with 19 home runs, 76 RBIs and a .457 slugging percentage and had positive defensive metrics. The Braves also have an excellent third-base prospect in Austin Riley, which could make Camargo even more expendable.

Mike Moustakas: Moustakas, 30, is the best third baseman on the free-agent market. He is a two-time All-Star and has extensive post-season experience. He is a left-handed hitter with power who can play defense. Moustakas’ impressive credentials are obvious, it just comes down to do the Rangers want to pay for a proven veteran third baseman or continue their pursuit of pitching.

Kyle Seager: Acquiring the Mariners’ veteran third baseman would seem to be contrary to what the Rangers are trying to do. He is 31, signed for three more years at $57.5 million and coming off his worst season offensively with a career-low .673 OPS. But Adrian Beltre’s career-low OPS was .683 at the age of 30 while playing with the Mariners. Seager is a strong defensive player who has mostly put up good offensive numbers in a pitcher-friendly ballpark. He is a consummate professional and often underrated player who may still have some excellent years ahead of him.

Yangervis Solarte: Beyond Moustakas, this is what the free-agent market looks like. Solarte had some good years with the Padres and can play all over the infield. He has some offensive power, although his numbers were down last season and he rated poorly in the field. Like Solarte, most of the free agents listed beyond Moustakas at third base are more utility-type players who would be short-term fixes for the Rangers rather than a long-term solution.

Josh Harrison: The former Pirates infielder is a free agent, and his name has been mentioned with the Rangers. He is similar to Solarte; he has been a productive player, but mostly in a utility role rather than as an everyday player. Harrison also would be a short-term fix for Texas.

Jedd Gyorko: He has been the Cardinals’ primary third baseman the past two years, but they acquired first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, which means Matt Carpenter is going back to the hot corner. The Rangers would be showing a cruel streak by acquiring Gyorko, as he had been blocking Wisdom in St. Louis over the past two years.

Chase Headley: This is the perfect candidate for a Minor League contract and an invitation to Spring Training. Headley, 34, was released by the Padres last season after hitting just .115 in 27 games. But he has had a long and productive career between the Padres and Yankees, and he is fourth among active players in games played at third base.