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Third Base Options to Start the Season

Who should play third base?

Torey Lovullo and Jeff Banister in spring training.
Torey Lovullo and Jeff Banister in spring training.
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Every baseball season has unique challenges. This season, one challenge was, “Who should play third base?” Much was written about the possibilities. Certainly many possibilities were explored, but no surprises emerged into the light of possibility.

In spring training Drew Ellis and Josh Rojas had the most plate appearances at third base, with Matt Davidson in a close third place. As the start of the season got very close, Matt Davidson was assigned to minor league camp, and Drew Ellis was optioned to the minors.

Josh Rojas was the last of the three players roving the baseball diamond; it appeared he would focus his playing time at third base, letting other utility players cover multiple positions.

Then Josh Rojas injured his oblique muscle. Healing will take many weeks. The challenge re-emerged; “Who should play third base for the Diamondbacks?”

“Injuries have been this team’s Achillies heal sort of speak for the last many years. It still holds true for this season, but I am optimistic that starting this year, the farm will produce at least league average players to step in.” — Xerostomia

Manager Torey Lovullo said Rojas’s replacement must “operate at full speed” and “play defense.” His words provided fans with clues.

What do you, a Diamondback fan, think should be done? Please provide your opinion on whether the Diamondbacks should acquire another player to play third base.

Poll

Should the Diamondbacks externally acquire a third baseman?

This poll is closed

  • 45%
    Yes. That takes the pressure off Rojas. Rojas can return to the role he excels at – batting prowess while playing whatever position helps the Diamondbacks.
    (61 votes)
  • 54%
    No. He will only be out weeks, during which the Diamondbacks can evaluate their internal players.
    (73 votes)
134 votes total Vote Now

Comments about internal candidates to play third base follow:

Sergio Alcantara.

“Alcántara is mostly a depth option who can man three infield positions, but shouldn’t be counted as an everyday option. He lacks the bat to be an everyday option at short, so the same would also apply here.” — Michael McDermott

“I saw both Ellis and Alcantara play last night, and neither impressed me at the plate. Ellis was actually manning 1B and did fine. Alcantara, despite his defensive bona fides, made a pretty boneheaded error on a challenging but not terribly difficult grounder down the line, and also failed to throw out the White Sox DH on a fairly hard hit grounder in the fifth that it seemed like he fielded in plenty of time.” — Dano

“Based on who played third base during spring training, Josh Rojas will be the primary third baseman, perhaps with Sergio Alcantara (who has great arm strength) as his backup. In case of injury, Drew Ellis could be called up from AAA.” — Makakilo

Drew Ellis.

“Ellis makes sense if Rojas and Alcantara struggle in a “might as well, we have nothing else” way.” — Justin

“A week ago I would have said Ellis because Rojas is best utilized as a super utility guy. But Ellis got sent back to Reno, so I guess it’s Rojas? So long as his bat stays the same (or gets better!), I’m ok with trying him as a full time third baseman. Edit for the injury: Ellis, I suppose.” — SpencerSpice

“I’ve been wanting Ellis to get a look at the position for a while now. I don’t think he’s going to be an answer moving forward, but the only way to know for sure is to throw him in the deep end and see if he can swim.” —Curse of Mike DiFelice

“I’d see if Ellis sinks or swims before giving a starting job to Davidson or Alcantara.” and “Ellis has options remaining, so if it’s apparent he can’t hit MLB pitching the team can option him down to Reno and try someone else.” — Michael McDermott

“Honestly, all of the candidates [Alcantara, Ellis, and Davison] have a fair shot at producing as much value as was expected from Rojas, as all of them are actually capable of playing infield defense, something Rojas is a bit rough with (to be generous to him).” — James Attwood

Matt Davidson.

“Just because of the memories from when Davidson was supposed to be the [Diamondbacks’] future at 3B, I want to see him get to start for a bit honestly.” — joecb1991

“After bouncing around the White Sox, Reds, and Dodgers, Davidson is back where it started. A light tower power bat from the right side, Davidson could be an option...” — Michael McDonald

“I like Davidson on the roster at this point as a lefty masher off the bench who gets cut at the earliest IL reinstatement.” — Curse of Mike DiFelice

“If he [Rojas] proves to be a defensive hack over there in the vein of a former Cuban “slugger”, then I think Matt Davidson is probably next in line, followed by another small sample size of Drew Ellis to finish out the season. I still don’t rule out Wilmer Difo appearing at some point, but the acquisition of Alcantara (who could see a few emergency innings at 3B) makes that far less likely.” — James Attwood

Buddy Kennedy.

“Looking at Zips 2022 top 100 prospects, they have Buddy Kennedy as #59. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/zips-2022-top-100-prospects/ Looking at his line in AA last year, it seems that he was very good, perhaps one of the few prospects that has been having a power surge as he progresses through the minors. My guess is that they will give the job to Ellis/Davidson, and give them 2 months to sink or swim, and if they are both negative contributors then Kennedy gets the call (assuming he continues to do well in the minors).” — Xerostomia

“I think they might have questions about his [Buddy Kennedy’s] ability to play a major league level defense at third base. If they didn’t have that concern, I think he’d be featured more prominently in all regards. I could be wrong about this though. And at least for 2022, the third baseman will end up in short right field 33% of the time.” — Jack Sommers

“The growing consensus seems to be that Kennedy is soon to be forced across the diamond. … Lawlar might be the best viable option in the system at this point, and there is (rightfully) no pressure to move him over off of SS, where he is even more valuable.” — James Attwood

C.J Chatham. In 2016, drafted in the second round. His spring training OPS was .667 as of 2 April. He is 27 years old.

Jake Hager. In 2011, drafted in the first round. In 2021 with the Diamondbacks he had 22 PAs in the Majors with an OPS of .384. His spring training OPS was .698 as of 2 April. He is 29 years old.

Please provide your opinion on which internal candidate should play third base.

Poll

Which internal candidate should play third base?

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    Sergio Alcantara.
    (8 votes)
  • 43%
    Drew Ellis.
    (51 votes)
  • 23%
    Matt Davidson.
    (27 votes)
  • 18%
    Buddy Kennedy.
    (22 votes)
  • 0%
    C.J Chatham.
    (1 vote)
  • 6%
    Jake Hager.
    (7 votes)
116 votes total Vote Now

Comments about external candidates to play third base follow:

“In conclusion, the team’s in-house options at the hot corner behind Josh Rojas range from bad to really bad. I wouldn’t be surprised if the team looks elsewhere…” — Michael McDermott

“Just learned about Rojas injury. That being the case I guess the player who will get the most starts is not currently on the roster.” — Jack Sommers

“I’m with Jack, that player is currently not in the organization. At some point this week I would think there would be an acquisition made off the post ST waiver wire.” — Chuck Johnson56

“Personally, I don’t want them to make a trade unless they are getting the Dbacks 3rd baseman for the next 4-5 years.” — Xerostomia

“The only clear and convincing [external acquisition] upgrades were of the star variety. AZ hasn’t the finances to go after an aging Bryant, nor did they have the trade capital to go after the likes of someone like Chapman.” — James Attwood

Asdrubal Cabrera, free agent.

“It seems like just something they would do.....sign a retread veteran instead of just sink or swim with a guy from their system. There may be only a very small chance that Drew Ellis would be an above replacement level player, but better to find out about him then sign a guy that has ZERO chance to contribute to this team down the line if they are a contender in a couple of years.” — Jack Sommers

“Last season he played for the Diamondbacks and the Reds.” — Makakilo

Michael Stefanic, Angels.

“Trade with the Angels for Michael Stefanic. His home-run to plate-appearance ratio increased from about .01 in A+ and AA to .035 in AAA. In October of 2021, Alex Chamberlain wrote that he liked his “bat to ball ability” despite his low launch angle. In February, The Birchwood Brothers wrote that he could be a cheap or lightly regarded player ‘who might do something this season.’” — Makakilo

Brian Anderson, Marlins.

“Trade with the Marlins for Brian Anderson. Last season, his OPS+ fell to 95, but it is likely to bounce back to at least average. His 3 DRS at third base ranked 14th, which is above average. His OAA was zero at third base. In spring training more than half his fielding was in the outfield, which was a mistake because that is not where he will succeed.” — Makakilo

Please provide your opinion on who should be acquired to play third base.

Poll

Who should be acquired to play third base?

This poll is closed

  • 28%
    Asdrubal Cabrera, free agent.
    (22 votes)
  • 15%
    Michael Stefanic, Angels trade.
    (12 votes)
  • 40%
    Brian Anderson, Marlins trade.
    (31 votes)
  • 14%
    Other (please provide the name in the comments section).
    (11 votes)
76 votes total Vote Now