Oakland Athletics: Who Should Start at Third Base in 2016?

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Mixed Feelings

Sep 22, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson (20) throws the ball to first base during the ninth inning of the game against the Los Angeles Angels at O.co Coliseum. The Oakland Athletics defeated the Los Angeles Angels 8-4. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Rich Paloma: The A’s have a strong history of great third baseman – Sal Bando, Carney Lansford, Eric Chavez, and Josh Donaldson – and not surprisingly those players played key parts in several winning seasons and post-season appearances.

There has also been a series of ‘flashes in the pan’ or’ has-beens’ that never developed or were past their prime when they had been playing with other teams – Kevin Sietzer, Brooke Jacoby, Mike Blowers, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Wayne Gross. Those teams were frequently 90-loss teams that rarely broke the .500 mark. *Scott Brocious did come up with the A’s and started at third in the mid 90s, but only developed into a threat when he went to the Yankees.

Unfortunately both Brett Lawrie and Danny Valencia fall in the latter category and will just fill a spot while the A’s play as a marginal team. Who SHOULD start and third base is different than who WILL start in 2016. The A’s are likely to go with Valencia at third with Lawrie at second base which means another sub .500 season until a solid glove with a hot bat fills the hot corner for the A’s.

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Andrew Dambrauskas: There is a wealth of testimony regarding Danny Valencia’s attitude, which is surely why this incredibly talented player has played for six different teams in the last four seasons. This is also the reason that the A’s are going to send him off to his seventh team in five seasons some time this offseason.

That would default Lawrie back to third, but you know that Beane will be up to his usual antics this offseason. MLB Trade Rumors noted that the Twins’ victorious bid on Byung-ho Park may have put Trevor Plouffe on the trading block, since this signing could make Joe Mauer a full-time DH, hence shifting Miguel Sano over to third. Since the Twins need an obvious upgrade at catcher, they may approach Beane with interest in Stephen Vogt (who Beane will be able to sell high this offseason), and Beane will certainly be interested in a good clubhouse guy like Plouffe.

But the position precariously belongs to Lawrie for now.

Next: Final Thoughts