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Hole at Third...

by LS Murphy

Tony LaRussa is notorious for shuffling players to fill slots. His biggest gamble paid off last year when he converted outfielder Skip Shumaker into a dependable second baseman. The beginning of the 2009 season brought a platoon of players at third base after Troy Glaus’ unexpected surgery. 2010 may be no different.

If the Cardinals fail to resign Mark DeRosa, who is being actively pursued by several teams, LaRussa will have to look elsewhere and, most likely, inward for the hot corner. He has several options, notably David Freese.

Injuries prevented Freese from battling for the position last season. He got healthy and helped his team to the AAA championship, where the Memphis Redbirds lost to the Durham Bulls in the worst way possible. Freese ended his AAA season hitting .300 with 10 homeruns and 37 RBI in his shortened season.

Cards GM John Mozeliak stated very clearly that Freese has a chance to win that starting spot at third. If he doesn’t get hurt again.

Unfortunately, injuries are unpredictable. As are untested rookies. LaRussa may have to turn to a veteran to fill the slot. Julio Lugo.

Lugo is a career shortstop that has also seen action at second base. Moving to third, even on a temporary basis, could be an easy fix to start the season. He hit .277 in 51 games for the Cardinals last year. His fielding percentage at short was .978 in 24 games and .979 at second in 30 games during his time with the National League Central Champs. Stellar? No. Respectable? Yes.

Lugo could bring his Major League experience to the position while Freese adjusts. Joe Mather could also see playing time with the team. Like the potential hole in left field, third base has plenty of options should any deal with Mark DeRosa fall apart. The Cardinals have a great farm system to draw from. Fans should celebrate all the possibilities.

Follow LS Murphy on Twitter at www.twitter.com/LSMurphy

1 comment:

  1. Anything is better than Troy "I'll never be as good as Scott Rolen" Glaus. And you can quote me!

    ReplyDelete


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