Oakland A's 2012 Outlook by Position: Third Base
The A's have spent the last two offseasons attempting to address the third base position in Oakland.
The first attempt, trading for Kevin Kouzmanoff before the 2010 season, brought mixed results. Although he was not a disaster for the A's, he failed to live up to the expectations the front office and coaching staff had for him.
Last offseason was spent attempting to woo Adrian Beltre to Oakland for a consecutive offseason, only to be shot down, for a second straight offseason.
Edwin Encarnacion was briefly a member of the A's, being claimed off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays before he was non-tendered and chose to re-sign with the Blue Jays.
The failed attempts to bring in an adequate replacement left Oakland little choice but to start the season with Kouzmanoff at the hot corner.
A complete ineptitude with both his bat and glove lead to his demotion to Sacramento. Andy LaRoche filled in temporarily before the A's went outside their organization and acquired Scott Sizemore from the Detroit Tigers.
Sizemore was a pleasant surprise, as he learned the position on the fly, but will the A's choose to stick with him as the primary third baseman in 2012?
Following his trade from the Detroit Tigers, Scott Sizemore came over to a new organization and a new position.
Originally a second baseman, Sizemore made his share of errors at third as he learned the position (13 errors in 91 games). He showed enough promise, though, that the A's seemed willing to enter spring training with Sizemore as the starter if they don't find an upgrade that fits the budget this offseason.
Offensively, Sizemore provided the A's with some pop in the lineup, hitting 11 homers and driving in 52 runs during his half season in Oakland.
At just 26 years old, he is still young enough to expect that he can make the position switch and become an above-average player at the position.
If he is given the opportunity...
2011 was a forgettable season for Adam Rosales.
After missing all of spring training and most of the first half of the season, Rosales finally made his season debut June 6 against the Baltimore Orioles and hit a homer in his first game back.
Seemed promising, but he would struggle the rest of the season and bounce back and forth between Oakland and Sacramento.
Rosales played in just 24 games in the Majors in 2011 and had a microscopic .098 batting average.
He could wind up non-tendered this offseason, meaning the A's would likely head into spring training with Eric Sogard as the primary utility player and backup.
Sizemore is another option as the primary utility, super-sub type player if the A's find a free agent third baseman or target another player in a trade.
Otherwise, Rosales will be in spring training competing for a roster spot with Sogard and perhaps Adrian Cardenas for the primary backup role.
Stephen Parker began the 2011 season in Double-A before being called up to make a handful of appearances at Triple-A to end the 2011 season.
He batted .286 with 10 homers and 74 RBI for the Midland Rockhounds in 132 games and .320 with two RBI in five games for the Sacramento River Cats.
He struggled with the glove in Double-A this season, committing 20 errors at third base.
A full spring of infield work with A's manager Bob Melvin should help his fielding, but not enough to earn a roster spot out of spring training.
Parker may wind up being a late season September call-up for the A's in 2012 unless he is needed earlier due to injury.
I'd expect to see him play the entire season in Sacramento, though, as he looks to refine his defensive skills and better prepare for life as a Big Leaguer.
Offseason Need: Bring in a Veteran and Make Scott Sizemore the Utility Player
The A's will need to at least consider bringing in a veteran to push Scott Sizemore for the starting position entering the 2012 season.
Some free agent names that could be considered by the A's include: Wilson Betemit, Mark DeRosa and Edwin Encarnacion (who could also fill the role as designated hitter).
If the A's want to make a bigger splash and add a proven contributor to their lineup and relegate Sizemore to the utility role, then pursuing Aramis Ramirez would seem a likely fit, albeit a bit more on the expensive side than the above mentioned free agents.
Looking at the trade market, David Wright is the top candidate that could be moved this offseason, and is still young enough to be a core piece of the A's offense that they could choose to build around.
Next Sunday, we’ll take a look at how Cliff Pennington and the rest of the A’s system stack up at shortstop heading into 2012.
Prior Position Breakdowns: