A 3rd Baseman? Unlikely, but Maybe

When a player is still adjusting to big league speed, it’s unlikely one would want to move said player from his original position. However, with the loss of a middle of the order (douchebag) bat in Marcell Ozuna, the Braves might have to get creative at the trade deadline. Thus far in 2021, Austin Riley, aka ARCHE, is destroying baseballs offensively and bobbling baseballs defensively. I still think he’s going to work out to be an average defender at 3rd with an average twitch and strong throwing arm, but the sample isn’t weighing in his favor in 2021. In all likelihood. Abraham Almonte will not be able to continue disguising himself as April Guillermo Heredia who was in disguise as August (2011) Jose Constanza, and therefore the Braves will need an OFer. Sure, the logical choice would be to just grab an OFer, but Anthopoulos doesn’t operate that way. Several times he’s stated that he’ll go get the player, then decide the fit later. Could that fit be a 3rd baseman? Unlikely, but maybe.

These Teams are Prepping for 2022

There were some teams coming into the 2021 season that were predicted to be terrible. Naturally, they turned out to be terrible. The following teams will likely be selling their expiring assets because their asses are already toast:

  • Baltimore Orioles
  • Detroit Tigers
  • Minnesota Twins
  • Texas Rangers
  • Pittsburgh Pirates
  • Cincinnati Reds
  • Colorado Rockies
  • Arizona Diamondbacks

There could be more that emerge, but that’s a solid list. In this exercise, we’ll also target shortstops that could make the 1/2 year move over to 3B.

Baltimore Orioles

Well, they suck and so do their 3B. However, Freddy Galvis is playing a very good shortstop and has found good power in his switch-hitting bat, which comes in fairly neutral in career splits. He’s on a remarkable $1.5MM deal, so it’ll take a decent prospect to make the Orioles bite.

Detroit Tigers

This would be a buy low, but a buy low that could be worth it in the long run. Jeimer Candelario has always had light-tower power and breakout potential, but hasn’t been able to consistently make hard contact until the shortened 2020. 2021 has been more of the same, but there’s still real potential here and he comes with team control through 2023.

Minnesota Twins

Foolish? Maybe…but Josh Donaldson is probably available. He hasn’t wowed since being with the Twins and some leg issues have kept him off the field, but he’s a good defender and has WOWing offensive Statcast data. If word reached the Braves that Marcell Ozuna will go unpaid through the 2022 season, could the Braves take a chance on bringing rain again? Gosh…that would be pretty dadgum awesome.

Texas Rangers

Nope. NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE. Pass.

Pittsburgh Pirates

We’d all love to be talking about acquiring Ke’Bryan Hayes, but the Pirates aren’t going to be trading their only exciting player since Starling Marte. Move on. However, there’s a very underrated player in Colin Moran that could definitely be had. He’s not great against LHP, but hits RHP very well and that is a need for this team. He also plays a solid 3B, but has been moved to 1B to make room for Hayes.

Cincinnati Reds

Eugenio Suarez has royally sucked this year. That cannot be understated. What can’t also be understated is how royally stupid the Reds were to screw with their everyday 3rd baseman for the last 6 years by moving him to shortstop just because. I’m not in Suarez’s head, but if I were, I’d have probably been very confused. Grabbing Suarez would be a real gamble as he’s signed through 2024 with a club option. It could also be genius because if he hits…look out.

Sure…if you like, throw Mike Moustakas into this discussion. He’s owed $34MM over the next 2 years with an option for 2024.

Colorado Rockies

Trevor Story plays shortstop. That much is certain. What else is certain is that he’ll be traded to someone at the deadline. In all likelihood, he’ll be sent to a team that needs a shortstop. However, the Braves don’t need one of those. Story is having a down year, but he’ll still hit and he’s a great fielder. I’d wager that he’d be just fine as a 3b for 1/2 a year. As always, the Rockies could use pitching and the Braves have that.

There’s also Ryan McMahon. He’s my choice, is entering his prime years, and his Statcast data is delicious, both offensively and defensively.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Eduardo Escobar will be a free agent in 2022. Asdrubal Cabrera will also be a free agent in 2022. Both are capable defenders and are solid offensively. They’d definitely help and I think they’ll definitely be traded.

Who ya Got?

When doing the research for OF and 3B bats that could be readily available, I found it quite shocking that it seemed easier pickings to grab a 3B. Who on this list intrigues you the most? For me, there are a lot of great options, but for nostalgia, I’d definitely love to bring Donaldson back. Let’s be real though… it’s a pipedream.

Thanks for reading “A 3rd Baseman? Unlikely…but Maybe. If you enjoyed this piece, check out our first in this series, “Early Braves Outfield Trading Partners”.

Author: Ryan Cothran

Ryan is the site editor and manager of Braves Journal. Follow him on Twitter.

23 thoughts on “A 3rd Baseman? Unlikely, but Maybe”

  1. I appreciate the line of thinking, but I would not risk getting in Riley’s head by moving him. Even the defensive jitters he had lately are probably attributable to being tired, since he had been starting nonstop since Ozuna got hurt.
    Just a couple of days off and even his bat got better again last night.

    As for Donaldson, I love what the guy did here, but we can’t risk another swing and a miss on a big contract. (I am pretty sure the braves will have to pay quite a bit to Ozuna).

  2. Donaldson isn’t happening. I know that. Still, if one were to go look at impact OF bats comparative to impact 3B bats, it sure was easier to find 3B. Moving Riley to LF for 1/2 a season should be fine.

  3. William Contreras is pretty good.

    So I guess the way he has been pitching is why Davidson got the call instead of Wilson.

  4. How about Tucker Davidson! What a great performance tonight. Maybe there IS such a ting as a pitching prospect.

  5. When the pitcher with the most mediocre stuff in your pen is your closer you get what you deserve.

  6. I know the stats don’t completely bear out that Will Smith is a liability, but gosh, he really seems like it.

    Acuna, Freddie, and Riley were 0-11.

  7. @13 I mean, Melancon doesn’t have elite stuff either. But Smith is really good at giving up big home runs, I’ll tell you that.

  8. He’s given up 2.2 HR/9 with the Braves the last two years. He basically needs Reitsma Room.

  9. @16 but Melancon didn’t make the continuous mistakes Smith does. He commanded his stuff and apparently understood that he couldn’t pitch like Josh Hader. Smith lollipops pitches into the happy zone and gets hammered.

    I would rather take our lumps with Minter or Matzek. At least they could pitch themselves out of trouble (and into it at times as well)

  10. I’d like to think that if I were a ballplayer with a big contract and I was not living up to it, I would donate a large part to charity or something, because I scammed the team.

    Lost season in my view, so this doesn’t hurt as much, but man, it still sucks to see it coming and have nothing done all season to change things up.
    Smith isn’t a closer, he just got foolishly paid like one.
    And before someone says this is his first blown save of the year, remember all the ones last year, the one that cost us the WS appearance, and all the times he has come in a tie game this year and screwed up.

  11. Smith is not a closer .. he gives up more HR per innings that anybody ive seen .. how long before Snit realizes Martin is the guy .. Smith throws a cutter right in the wheel house .. you got stay on outside part of plate .. Im sitting there knowing he was gonna blow it ..

  12. Once Smith walked Cutch I said to my son that was the ball game. Smith gets so many guys 0-2 or 1-2 but can’t punch them out because he has no where to go. He had McCutcheon and got cute and lost him and it cost him the game.

    If anybody think Snit is going to realize Smith isn’t a closer you are fooling yourself. He will immediately point to the 11-12 in save opportunities blah blah blah. The fact that he doesn’t have elite stuff or elite command won’t matter to him

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