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Angels Free Agency Primer: Third Base

For the last few years Angel fans had longed to replace Alberto Callaspo with an upgrade… then they went and traded him and forgot about the upgrade part. Ooops! Now the Halos have a giant black hole atop the depth chart and third and are going to have to find a way to fill it in a market that is almost completely devoid of third base talent. So, you know, good luck with all that.

What they already have: Luis Jimenez (71 wRC+, 0.7 fWAR), Chris Nelson (61 wRC+, -0.7 fWAR), Andrew Romine (70 wRC+, 0.4 fWAR)

If Arte Moreno loses his mind… he'll hand Michael Young a three-year, $40 million contract to bring "veteran leadership" to the clubhouse even though Young is barely even a replacement level player right now.

If the Angels are creative and aggressive… they actually have a lot of options despite the seeming lack of talent on the market. Fans, of course, will want the Halos to make a run at San Diego's Chase Headley. There is no doubt that he would be a perfect fit for the Halos except for that whole "they don't have any prospects worth trading" thing. Frankly, it isn't even clear if Headley is available, but if he is it is a virtual certainty that some other team will be able to easily trump any offer Dipoto can make.

What they could do is throw a modest amount of money at the problem by bringing Jhonny Peralta. Nominally a shortstop, Peralta has plenty of experience at the hot corner where he profiles as a quality defender and his bat still plays fairly well. They might need to overpay him a tiny bit in order to convince him to switch positions, but given his defensive potential and relative offensive upside, it should be worth it.

If the Angels really do want to make a trade, there are some other avenues they could explore. The Cardinals might be open to moving David Freese as he is coming off a down season where he has struggled with his health. It isn't like St. Louis to move a guy at the bottom of his value, but they could easily slide Matt Carpenter to third and hand the second base job to top prospect Kolten Wong. This would only really be an option if the Cards develop an interest in Peter Bourjos though, which is a possibility.

They could, as mentioned last week, turn this into a second base problem instead and shift Grant Green to third and turn to the market to sign or trade for a second baseman instead. It also helps that Green's defensive deficiencies would be mitigated by him moving to a less critical position. Alas, the team declined to give him any time at third back in September, so this seems like a route they aren't real interested in exploring.

If the Angels want to troll their own fans… they will resuscitate the aborted Mark Trumbo at third base experiment. There is no way it will succeed, but people keep bringing it up as if it is a viable option. Even Trumbo thinks it is a bad idea. What better way to troll the fans than to force Trumbo back to third base to put on display what a horrific idea him playing the hot corner really is.

If the Angels are savvy and conservative… they'll fill the third base opening in a patchwork manner. There really isn't full-time starting caliber third basemen on the market, but they could slap together a solid platoon. Eric Chavez put together a strong 2013 campaign for Arizona and could be paired internally with Jimenez or join another signee like Casey McGahee, who is returning from a few stellar years in Japan, or (ugh) Juan Uribe. It wouldn't be a perfect platoon, but it is a hell of a lot better than anything they have internally. Seriously, anything that prevents us from being subjected to more Chris Nelson is a vast improvement.

What the Angels will probably do is… a mystery. The fact that Chris Nelson is still on the 40-man roster suggests that even Dipoto is unclear of how he will move forward at third, so he is keeping his options available, even if that option is a truly miserable one. The real issue here is that third base is kind of a wasteland across the league right now. There is no doubt that the Halos want to upgrade at third, but there just isn't a lot of talent to draw upon.

It seems highly unlikely that they will just roll into 2014 with all the same guys they have on the roster right now, but whether or not they bring in someone else to be the clearcut starter or just find some other non-tendered re-tread like Emilio Bonifacio (who I actually kind of like but he may not get non-tendered) to throw into the mix remains to be seen, though their luxury tax concerns suggest they will lean toward the latter.

Garrett Wilson

About Garrett Wilson

Garrett Wilson is the Supreme Overlord of Monkeywithahalo.com and editor at The Outside Corner. He's an Ivy League graduate, but not from one of the impressive ones. You shouldn't make him angry. You wouldn't like him when he is angry.

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