Who the heck is going to play third base for the Detroit Tigers in 2023?
The Detroit Tigers still don't have anybody penciled in to play third base for the 2023 season. We're getting closer and closer to the start of Spring Training, and there is still no answer at the position.
It sure seems like there's going to be a cast of characters over at the hot corner this upcoming season—and it could be a pretty large cast, filled with a mix of youngsters and veterans.
This article will take a look at all the potential options. We'll start with the ones that seem the least likely and work our way up from there. And away...we...go!
Yep, he's still here. And there's a reason for it. He plays solid defense and draws a ton of walks. He's not going to hit for average, but he'll get on base and smack one over the wall every once in a while. That being said, he's probably on the outside looking in. I think he strikes out too much for him to make the roster.
I'm higher on Lipcius than most, but I haven't seen anything that would suggest that he has a shot to even make this team. That isn't very concerning, since some more at-bats in Toledo wouldn't hurt, but it just seems like he's on the outside looking in as well at the moment.
Acquired in the Joe Jimenez trade during last month's Winter Meetings, people seem to think Malloy is going to just step right in and take the third base job. Barring a 2021 Akil Baddoo-esque spring, I just don't see it. Yes, he flew through the minors last year, but we don't even know if third base is his long-term home. He's played everywhere. Let's pump the breaks on JHM a bit.
Now we get into some more likely options, though I think it would be better if Schoop stayed at second base. He still put up a 1.5 WAR season last year despite being the worst qualified hitter in all of baseball. All of his value came from being a top-notch defender at second base. I'm not sure why you would mess with that. Yes, he has the arm to play third base, but if he doesn't improve at the plate, then I don't see a reason to move him off of second base.
Kreidler still seems like a realistic option to get some time at third base this season. His defense is definitely worthy of it, but the bat is still a huge question mark. If he can make more consistent contact and draw some more walks, things might not be so bad. But I'm personally not counting on that.
If you were to ask me right now, gun to my head, who the starting third baseman on Opening Day would be for the Detroit Tigers, I'd say it would be recent addition Nick Maton. He was acquired along with Matt Vierling and catcher Donny Sands in the Gregory Soto trade earlier this month. He's the only left-handed hitter on this list and he's played everywhere. He also has some pretty high upside. Maton currently seems like the best option.
It's again worth noting that A.J. Hinch likes to move guys around, so there's a good chance they don't have a set third baseman. It will probably be some combination of Maton, Kreidler, and Schoop, with maybe Lipcius and Malloy sneaking their way into the conversation by season's end.