What the heck are the Detroit Tigers going to do at third base?
When longtime third baseman Jeimer Candelario was among the players who were non-tendered by the Detroit Tigers on Nov. 18, many folks thought it made sense. Candy needed a change of scenery, and the Tigers can do better at the position.
Fast forward about a month, and Candelario has signed a one-year deal with the Washington Nationals, while the Detroit Tigers have yet to find his replacement. Options in both the free agent and trade markets are running thin. What's going on here? What is Scott Harris waiting for? A third baseman for the 2023 season to fall out of the sky?
The Tigers can't possibly think an internal option like Ryan Kreidler or Andre Lipcius can get the job done. Kreidler isn't a good enough hitter at the big league level and while I like Lipcius, he's yet to play in the big leagues and is largely unproven. There's still almost two months to go until Spring Training, so they still have time. But at the same time, the market has moved very quickly this year after a slow start. All positions are running out of options, let alone third base.
So what gives? Why does it seem like Scott Harris is just sitting on his hands? This roster is still nowhere near complete. It just can't be. There's got to be something else that's going to happen here before Spring Training begins.
I put out an article last week about a possible swap of a starting pitcher for a major league hitter, and I still think that's the most likely scenario. With the signings of Matthew Boyd and Michael Lorenzen, the Detroit Tigers have a surplus of starting pitching. It almost makes too much sense to move a starter for some offense at this point.
By far the best free agent left that can play third base is Brandon Drury, but word is his market is heating up. By the time you're reading this, he may have already signed with a team. Evan Longoria is still out there, but he's 37 and is likely going to hit a steep decline this year, although he would be better than nothing at this point.
So we have to look for a trade. Rafael Devers is in the midst of an impasse with the Red Sox, as he's looking for a contract extension and the Sox don't appear to want to meet his demands. He would be perfect, but since he's just one year away from free agency, the Tigers probably wouldn't trade for him unless they were ready to offer him an extension.
Other than that, I mean...Jonathan India could be available? Maybe? He would cost a lot, but the Reds aren't planning to be competitive any time soon. I'm just grasping at straws here.
The third base market just isn't very good. All the good options are gone. The Detroit Tigers don't have many options left. Either they're going to have to make a big splash, or they're going with some combination of Kreidler/Lipcius/Andy Ibanez. Not exactly a group that inspires confidence.
The Detroit Tigers have a problem at third base. They don't currently have anybody on the 40-man roster who plays at the hot corner by trade. None of the internal options will get the job done. They have to do something, and they better do it fast.