Sunday, February 2, 2014

Position Assessment: Third Base

Third base, much like second base and almost every other position on the infield, is a huge uncertainty heading into Spring Training which is only 12 days away. With Alex Rodriguez suspended for the entire 2014 season, the Yankees plan right now is for Kelly Johnson to play third base. Johnson is a utility man who spent the 2013 with the Tampa Bay Rays. Johnson is a reliable player who you can depend on to play whatever position he is asked to play, though he primarily plays second base. For the Yankees, Brian Roberts will play second until he is injured, which is a safe bet to make based on Roberts' recent history.

Johnson can platoon with Eduardo Nunez at third base as a right-handed compliment to the third base platoon, which can serve well for the Yankees over the course of a 162 game season where there will be days that players need rest, especially the platoon-type players. The Yankees learned with Eric Chavez that rest is important, and Joe Girardi likes to rest his players regardless of how durable they are. This season in particular will be a challenge coming off an injury-plagued 2013 season where Robinson Cano was the only member of the infield stay healthy for the season.

To conclude, it is difficult to gauge just how well the Yankees third baseman situation stacks up in comparison to other teams in the league, however the uncertainly, along with the low-risk signings could turn out to work well for the Yankees, as it did with several low-risk players they have signed in recent years. My prediction stands that Johnson will share playing time at third base with Eduardo Nunez.

Predictions for Yankees third basemen in 2014: .275 AVG, 17 HR, 65 RBI

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