Quick, which Yankees player made the most starts at third base this season?
. . .
Would you believe it was Jayson Nix? Ten guys made at least five starts at third, and the leader of that group was a utility infielder who was taken off the 40-man roster last offseason, finished the season the disabled list and started fewer than 35 games at the position. Here’s the complete list of Yankees starting third basemen:
Nix (32 games), David Adams (29), Alex Rodriguez (27), Kevin Youkilis (20), Eduardo Nunez (14), Luis Cruz (11), Chris Nelson (9), Brent Lillibridge (8), Mark Reynolds (7), Alberto Gonzalez (5).
Now, with Alex Rodriguez’s status uncertain — and with most of that list heading for free agency — who’s your guess for the most starts at third base next season? A few possibilities…
Played a lot of third base at the end of the season, could be considered the incumbent if Rodriguez isn’t active on Opening Day.
If the Yankees decide his legs aren’t quite up to a full season at shortstop, could Jeter shift to third base for the final year of his current contract?
Came into this season as the system’s most advanced third base prospect, but he struggled in his first taste of the big leagues. Better the second time?
A fan favorite even without a single big league at-bat. He should be back next year, and the bat still has potential. Would the Yankees trust him enough?
Hard to imagine the Yankees will plan to have Nix be their most common third baseman, but then again, that wasn’t the plan his year either.
Kind of an all-or-nothing player, but he showed his home run potential during his brief Yankees tenure. Was that enough to bring him back?
Hard to speculate on the trade market right now, but the Cardinals could move Freese to open an infield spot for prospect Kolten Wong.
The free agent class is pretty thin at third base. Young will be available, so will Juan Uribe (and Kevin Youkilis), but there’s no standout option.
If you’re looking for a real wild card, how about a prospect resurgence and second-half call-up for a guy who could start playing more third base next year?
Associated Press photos