State of play: NL third base

Marc Serota

Taking a look at which NL teams need to upgrade third base during the offseason.

The free agent market at third base is very thin this offseason, with few starting-caliber players available to sign. There are still some solid platoon and role players who will be looking to help a new team in 2014.

Only a few National League teams are looking for third base help this winter, with most teams having their starters entrenched for 2014. The current state of NL third baseman listed below, with players slotted at the position they would likely field if their respective teams made zero changes during the offseason.

Team Starting 3B Next in line Comments
Atlanta Braves Chris Johnson Ramiro Pena Johnson had an impressive 2013 campaign, but his impressive hitting numbers were fueled by a .394 BABIP. Pena had been having a nice season as a role player before suffering a season-ending injury in June.
Miami Marlins Ed Lucas Chris Coghlan Coghlan and Lucas could compete for the starting 3B position if Miami does not sign or trade for a third baseman. Colin Moran looked impressive in Low-A but still needs more time in the minors.
New York Mets David Wright Wilmer Flores Wright had a monster season despite missing over a month with a hamstring injury. Flores is expected to start the year in Triple-A, but could compete for at-bats at 1B.
Philadelphia Phillies Cody Asche Kevin Frandsen Frandsen and Asche may platoon at third base, with Asche receiving the majority of the at-bats. Maikel Franco raked in Double-A and could force his way into the lineup with a hot spring.
Washington Nationals Ryan Zimmerman Anthony Rendon Rendon is the Nationals starting second baseman, but could shift to third if Zimmerman misses some playing time. Zimmerman's six-year, $100 million extension starts next season.
Chicago Cubs Luis Valbuena Mike Olt Valbuena and Olt may compete for the starting job during spring training, along with Donnie Murphy. Valbuena could also play second if Chicago parts ways with Darwin Barney.
Cincinnati Reds Todd Frazier Jack Hannahan Frazier had a second-straight solid year, showing improvements defensively but slipping at the plate. Hannahan will occasionally spell Frazier against righties.
Milwaukee Brewers Aramis Ramirez Juan Francisco Francisco could start at 1B if the Brewers do not acquire a first baseman during the offseason, which seems unlikely. Ramirez will likely be a trade candidate if the Brewers struggle.
Pittsburgh Pirates Pedro Alvarez Josh Harrison Alvarez hit a career-high 36 home runs in 2013 after hitting 30 in 2012. Harrison, who can also play short, could spell Alvarez against left-handed pitching.
St. Louis Cardinals David Freese Matt Carpenter Freese is a likely trade candidate this offseason; Carpenter could shift to third base, with Kolten Wong replacing him at second. The Cardinals could keep all three and "platoon" Freese and Wong, playing Freese at 3B against lefties and Wong at 2B against righties.
Arizona Diamondbacks Martin Prado Matt Davidson Prado could shift to left field if the Diamondbacks do not sign a power bat during the offseason. Davidson had a solid debut, but could start 2014 in Triple-A.
Colorado Rockies Nolan Arenado Jonathan Herrera Arenado had a disappointing debut season offensively, but played impressive defense at the hot corner. Josh Rutledge and D.J. LeMahieu could also spend time at third, depending on which player starts at second next season.
Los Angeles Dodgers Justin Sellers The Dodgers don't have a major-league starting third baseman currently on the roster (except for Hanley Ramirez, who is currently the starting shortstop). The team will likely re-sign Juan Uribe or bring in another veteran.
San Diego Padres Chase Headley Logan Forsythe Headley could be traded during the offseason, which would likely cause Jedd Gyorko to move to third. Alexi Amarista could also spend time at third.
San Francisco Giants Pablo Sandoval Joaquin Arias Sandoval had a solid 2013 campaign and mostly stayed on the field, appearing in 141 games. He is scheduled to hit free agency after the 2014 season.

Click here to view the full list of available free agents, but some of the top available third base free agents this offseason include:

Juan Uribe
Michael Young
Eric Chavez
Mark Reynolds
Kevin Youkilis
Placido Polanco
Casey McGehee

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