By Steve Dilbeck
3:00 PM PST, December 10, 2013
Let’s begin with the premise that you have to play baseball with a third baseman. Pretty sure it’s in the rules. And let’s further go out on a metaphorical limb and conclude the Dodgers currently do not have one.
What to do?
The only two options available are signing a free agent or a trade; there is nothing in the system. Currently they don’t have a third baseman on the 40-man roster, unless you count Hanley Ramirez. Move him over from shortstop and now you have the same hole at another infield position.
Truth is, nothing out there appears all that enticing. The Dodgers’ preferred option is to bring back Juan Uribe, but General Manager Ned Colletti said they have already made multiple offers and not heard back.
Juan Uribe, a man with leverage. Just the way everyone figured it would play out.
Uribe is apparently weighing interest from the Marlins, and possibly the White Sox (depending on who is tweeting at this particular moment).
The Dodgers, and presumably every other club, are reluctant to give him the multi-year deal he seeks. The Dodgers signed him for three years last time and the first two were as useful as an umbrella in a hurricane.
Now he’s coming off a turnaround season, but turns 35 in March, and it was one season. He’s a likable guy with a terrific glove, and it would seem in his best interest to return, but maybe someone is whispering in his ear that this is his last shot at a semi-significant deal and he’s listening.
If there’s no Uribe, free agency doesn’t offer much: back to Michael Young (thinking not), Kevin Youkilis (also turns 35 in March, has back issues and hit .219 last season), Yuniesky Betancourt (hit .212 last season), Eric Chavez (he’s 36 and reportedly has seven teams interested, none named the Dodgers), 38-year-old Placido Polanco?
If nothing on the free-agent market is appealing to the Dodgers, they will have to look at a trade. Something they are no doubt exploring during the current winter meetings in Orlando.
Right now, there appears to be no easy solution. The Dodgers seem intent on gambling that unproven Cuban Alexander Guerrero can be their everyday second baseman, which still seems a dangerous roll of the dice.
They can hardly afford two uncertainties in the infield, yet at the moment, that’s where they find themselves. Unless that man with all the leverage comes around.
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