Free Agent Market For Third Basemen

The Orioles, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Indians, Tigers, Angels, Athletics, Mariners, Marlins, Cardinals, and Giants may be looking for third base help this winter.  Here's a look at the hot corner free agent market.

The Best Choice By Far

By signing a one-year deal last offseason, Adrian Beltre positioned himself for another big contract.  He hit .321/.365/.553 with his usual stellar defense, so don't be surprised if Scott Boras seeks more than the five years and $64MM Beltre received in 2004.  On top of the contract, signing Beltre will require giving up a draft pick.  The Red Sox hope to re-sign him, but don't expect a discount.

May Not Hit The Open Market

Even coming off a bad year, Aramis Ramirez would be an appealing free agent.  However, the Cubs' third baseman is expected to exercise his $14.6MM player option for 2011.  The Tigers may not pick up Jhonny Peralta's $7MM option, but they expect to retain him and play him at shortstop.

Less-Than-Ideal Starters

Most clubs won't be thrilled to pencil in Jorge Cantu, Pedro Feliz, Brandon Inge, Miguel Tejada, Juan Uribe, Melvin Mora, Nick Punto, or Ty Wigginton as their starter at third base, though many of them played regularly this year.  Inge is looking to re-sign with the Tigers at a fair price, and GM Dave Dombrowski would like to reach an agreement before he hits the open market according to Tom Gage of the Detroit News.  Inge shows pop from time to time, but most of his value is in his defense.

Non-Tender Candidates

Kevin Kouzmanoff, Edwin Encarnacion, and Jose Lopez are the most notable non-tender candidates at third base.  The A's may keep Kouzmanoff for lack of a better option, but Encarnacion and Lopez are likely to join the free agent ranks.  Andy Marte, Andy LaRoche, and Kevin Frandsen could also be cut loose.


It's Beltre or bust this year if you're looking to sign a free agent third baseman.  Whoever you'd rank behind Beltre, it's a distant second.  Teams that find him too expensive may turn to the trade market.

21 Responses to Free Agent Market For Third Basemen Leave a Reply

  1. Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

    i think beltre = angels

    • ze3 5 years ago

      I agree. Maybe a deal around $40-45M for three years, although I wouldn’t be surprised if he signed for 4 or 5. I’m not too excited about this signing, I think there are better 3B than Beltre for the same price, but it would be impossible for the Angels to get them without losing Trout. Cough…Wright…cough. Excuse me.

      • azdsnd 5 years ago

        If I’m you, I keep Trout and Beltre over the draft pick and Wright…

  2. The_Porcupine 5 years ago

    Beltre will break the bank this offseason and I can see the Angels, Red Sox, and Giants really fighting it out for him. I have heard the A’s linked to him, but I hope not. He isn’t the big run producer that would be consistent with the salary he’d make. They’d be better with keeping Kouz. and signing Wigginton to play around the whole diamond for a near full time job. I’d be curious about Lopez as a rebound candidate. Seattle was so toxic this year, you would have to think he would go back closer to his career averages (which play better at second base, though with much risk to team defense).

  3. johnsilver 5 years ago

    Look at that list and other than Beltre, Lowrie playing 3B for Boston next year looks pretty fair.

  4. I saw one post that said the Giants will go hard for him. Please explain what the hell happened with Edgar Renteria and Aaron Rowand. I’m not saying Beltre is of their caliber, but I can see Beltre being just another huge flop for the Giants. If they wanna improve on offense, sign Pat Burrell and Aubrey Huff, and re-up on Uribe. Their going to be older but it’s offensive production.

    • How does resigning their own players improve them offensively? Technically they’d need to replace some of their poorer hitters with better ones to improve, no? And can you guarantee Burrell will be as good or better next year than Beltre?

      I’d be scared to sign Beltre to a big and/or long contract given his inconsistent history but he’d be a descent upgrade for a lot of teams. He was really smart to take the one year deal last year given how he’s positioned this year, he’s going to get paid like it’s still 2004.

  5. corey23 5 years ago

    Beltre is a product of the boston lineup and fenway park… look at jason bay post boston.

    • Look at Bay pre Boston.

      • johnsilver 5 years ago

        Right. Bay was a monster in Pittsburgh also. One has to wonder if just playing for the NYM now is a prescription for failure.

      • johnsilver 5 years ago

        Right. Bay was a monster in Pittsburgh also. One has to wonder if just playing for the NYM now is a prescription for failure.

    • An OPS 70 pts higher in road games, and the Boston lineup that lost like 300 games in injuries… yep, right on. Not a huge fan of sox or beltre either.

  6. basemonkey 5 years ago

    I think Wigginton on this list is actually a little unfair to him. I’m not saying he’s an All-Star player but, he deserves a little more credit.If there’s a category for Super-Sub he should be on it. If you are looking for a UT power bat who can play a credible 3B, 1B, or 2B, who can also play some at SS and OF, this is him. Wigginton on a team’s bench can bring in ~20 HRs at a solid rate at a very cheap 1 yr deal about 2ish M. Not bad.

  7. azdsnd 5 years ago

    This list is exactly why Kevin Towers will find somebody who will give him fair market value for Mark Reynolds.

  8. Mark Teahan might be available in a trade.

  9. cubsfanraysaddict 5 years ago

    Willy Aybar too under potential non-tenders, third and first are really the only positions he can play with any skill and the Rays may find a better way to spend a couple million.

    • I hate Willy Aybar. I really do. I hate his ridiculous leg kick, I hate how he never does a full swing, I hate how he can never swing without one hand having to come off the bat, and most of all, I hate how he hits .100 against every other team, and hits like .800 against the Yankees.

  10. Steve_in_MA 5 years ago

    I don’t believe that any GM will give Beltre more than a 4-year deal. In fact, I expect that the top offer will be 3 years with a 4th year vesting option. Monetarily, there is no third baseman out there, except Rodriguez, making significantly more than $15MM, and that fact will remain true after this offseason. It won’t change until Longoria becomes a free agent. Beltre has value approaching that of the top third basemen in the league, but only because he has incredible defensive range. He is not a great defensive player, per se (19 errors, .957 fld pct.). He was merely 13th best in fielding percentage, and 18th best in errors. His range, however, is one of the best in MLB (+12.7 UZR/150). Most of the other top level third base candidates provide their value primarily via offense (Rodriguez and Longoria being notable exceptions). While Beltre was no slouch this year, offensively speaking, his average offensive numbers don’t match up with the average numbers of the top-tier guys. I expect him to top out at Aramis Ramirez type salary numbers, or $15MM/season.

    I don’t think the Red Sox will be competitive for Beltre. I think we’ll move Youk to third – his natural position – and sign somebody cheaper to play first (like Lyle Overbay or Adam Dunn). We have a kid named Middlebrooks who is coming up in the next 2 years to play third. I doubt we want to block him with a long-term, expensive contract for Beltre. I see it as the Angels and Giants slugging it out for Beltre, with neither willing to go beyond that outlined above.

  11. 3 yr. $ 36 mil. max for beltre. I hope the Angels dont go after him; hes not that sick. stay in Boston; that’s the only place you can hit.

  12. richmond20657 5 years ago

    Ramirez to Baltimore for a Young starter and current position player .

  13. cubfan4life 5 years ago

    If you look at the market for third basemen there are not a whole lot of places that make sense for Beltre. Boston, Anaheim, the White Sox, and maybe the Dodgers are really the only big market teams that make sense. Detroit, St. Louis and SF each make some sense but each have other issues that make signing Beltre unlikely. Detroit has Comerica Park unless they over pay idk that he would go to another park like Safeco. STL has Holliday under contract and still has to extend Pujols plus the current contracts of Carpenter, Lohse, Wainwright, and Molina equal 38.75M. and like Detroit AT&T park isnt the most attractive option either.

    Given the current options i think the most likely landing spots in order are Boston, Chicago, and then Anaheim. Boston will have the money plus he knows what its like there and if he’s comfortable why leave? I put Chicago 2nd only because they will need a big bat in the middle of the order if Konerko leaves. Anaheim being the least likely because i think Crawford and/or Werth are a higher priority for them and i dont think that they can do 2 big contracts.

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