Much like a haunted house, watching the Indians at third base is an activity best suited to those who enjoy being scared. Unfortunately, unlike the deranged dentist hacking up a patient with a plastic chain saw, the blundering ineptitude seen at the hot corner for the Tribe is very, very real.
In 2010, the Indians began with Jhonny Peralta at third—a guy better suited to playing either Sleepy, Grumpy, or Dopey in a community theater production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs than to playing baseball. They ended the season with the three headed monster of Jayson Nix, Andy Marte and Luis Valbuena, disaffectionately known as "Nimartuena"—a nightmarish monster as elusive as Nessie in its batting average and as ugly as Big Foot in its defense.
The good news (yes, there is some) is that at the end of 2011 or the beginning of 2012, hot prospect Lonnie Chisenhall should be ready to claim the third base job and put an end to the Indians Hot Corner of Despair. The bad news is, that still leaves at least half a season of watching a host of bumbling bush leaguers try (and fail) to field hot grounders down the line.
Currently, it appears the candidates for the job are Nix, Donald, Valbuena, Cabrera and Jared Goedert, whose upside and minor league stats suggest that while he's likely not a long-term solution, he may just have it in him to make the wait for Chisenhall a little less painful.
Most likely though, the job goes to Donald, whose glove and bat are far superior to those of Nix and Valbuena. Cabrera could certainly handle the job as well, but at this point it seems that the Indians are more likely to use him as a utility infielder, due to age and the fact that he's versatile enough to play second, third and shortstop as a defensive replacement or to spell the younger guys at those positions.
It's tough to feel good about the Indians' situation at third going into the 2011 season. But on the upside, it looks like things will at least not be as scary over there as they were last year.