The Dodgers are in the market for a right-handed bat. Josh Donaldson and Anthony Rendon are two third basemen the club has been linked to.
Although Mike Moustakas signed in Cincinnati, there’s still plenty of third base talent up for grabs this offseason. Here are some options the Dodgers can consider.
Nolan Arenado (trade candidate)
The Rockies are reportedly going to shop the face of their franchise at this year’s Winter Meetings. The 28-year-old slugger can opt-out after the 2021 season, and it appears the Rockies aren’t exactly sure he’ll stay. Arenado is a wizard at the hot corner (seven Gold Glove awards in seven seasons) and a prolific RBI man, but concerns about his asking price and extreme home/road splits could severely limit his interest.
The Dodgers definitely have the assets to pursue Arenado, but it will be very unlikely they fork over the prospects required for procuring his services. There’s no doubt Arenado is among the league’s elite, but the Dodgers should look for lineup help that doesn’t involve emptying the entire farm system.
Josh Donaldson (free agent)
One of the more intriguing free agents at any position this offseason, Donaldson has already been connected to several teams, including the Dodgers. After dealing with injuries the past couple of seasons, Donaldson bounced back in a big way in 2019 with 37 homers and a .900 OPS and earned the NL Comeback Player of the Year award.
He also had his best defensive season since his MVP in 2015, leading NL third basemen with 15 DRS. Donaldson’s hot temper may rub some the wrong way, but he is a fierce competitor and will bring a strong veteran presence to whichever team employs him.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Dodgers offer him a deal, but it’ll be short term as he is only a year younger than incumbent third baseman Justin Turner, who would take up a share of the first and second base duties with Donaldson in the field.
Anthony Rendon (free agent)
Rendon is the cream of the third base, and arguably the entire free agent, crop. Rendon could always hit, but he broke out in a big way in 2019, finishing third in MVP voting and leading the Majors in RBI. Unsurprisingly, teams are lining up for the chance at Rendon, and equally, unsurprisingly, his services will come with a hefty price tag.
The Dodgers have the financial resources to dish out a mega-contract, but giving $200+ million to one player is always risky. Although the Dodgers don’t have an immediate need at third base, they have plenty of players who have spent time at multiple positions to help accommodate for a third base addition.
While the Dodgers’ deep pockets and versatility make them a qualified Rendon suitor (they’ve already met with him), it remains to be seen if they make an aggressive move in what’s sure to be a serious bidding war.
Todd Frazier (free agent)
Frazier had somewhat of a resurgence in 2019. The 33-year-old had his highest average (.251) since his All-Star 2015 campaign and managed to say relatively healthy throughout the season. Teams in need of a veteran clubhouse presence and some right-handed pop from the corner infield positions could give Frazier a look.
The Dodgers could theoretically consider Frazier as a replacement for David Freese, albeit one with a much less refined plate approach and without the historic postseason pedigree. Any offer they give the Toddfather should be of the cheap one-year variety.
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Brock Holt (free agent)
For the purposes of this article, I’m considering Brock Holt a third baseman. The hyper-versatile 31-year-old has over 900 innings at the hot corner over his career. Most of Holt’s value is stemmed in his versatility (he has big league experience at every position except pitcher and catcher), but he has been a decent on-base threat and has a clutch playoff grand slam to his name. There hasn’t been a lot of buzz around Holt’s name, but I could see the Dodgers offering him at least a minor league deal closer to the season if he’s still available.
Maikel Franco (free agent)
After being non-tendered by the Phillies, Maikel Franco is now one of the more interesting under-the-radar free agents available. Franco was about as inconsistent as they come during his time in Philly, showing flashes of potential at times and looking lost at the plate and in the field at others.
Still, he is just 27 years old and has demonstrated the ability to drive the ball, and he should find himself a one-year or minor league deal to prove himself. Franco actually has a slight reverse split (.255 vs righties and .232 against lefties) for his career, so he doesn’t profile as a prototypical bench lefty-masher, but maybe Dodger hitting coach Robert Van Scoyoc could work some of his magic and alter Franco’s approach.