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As I watched the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers play in game two of the National League Championship Series Sunday night, two players really stood out to me and made me think about the Pittsburgh Pirates current situation.
They just so happened to be the star third basemen, a position in which the Pirates have many questions surrounding.
For the Dodgers, Justin Turner has emerged into arguably one of the best third basemen in baseball and once again came up big last night, driving in all four runs in a Dodgers 4-1 victory that gave them a 2-0 lead in the series. Turner drove in a run in the bottom of the fifth inning to tie the game at 1 and hit a walkoff three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth off John Lackey to send the fans in LA home happy.
This postseason, Turner is now hitting .375.
On the other side, the Cubs have former NL MVP Kris Bryant. While he has struggled this postseason, hitting under .150, he is still a star in the game.
This made me think a lot about the Pirates situation at third base heading into 2018. David Freese served as the primary third baseman in 2017, playing 116 games at the hot corner. While Freese didn’t put up terrible numbers, hitting .263 with 10 home runs and 52 RBIs in 130 games, he didn’t exactly look like an ideal option as an everyday third baseman.
He is much more suited as a bench player or a guy who can contribute every other day in more of a part-time role.
What will be Freese’s role in 2018? That question is unknown.
Jung Ho Kang may factor into that decision, but his future and status is unknown as well.
And what about Jose Osuna? There had been reports that he was fielding groundballs at third base this past year, and while it was understood that he wouldn’t play the position in 2017, will he get a shot to man the hot corner in 2018?
I think it might be worth a shot considering the outfield may be crowded depending on the status of Andrew McCutchen, and it could keep Osuna in the lineup on a regular basis.
The Pirates have a lot of decisions to make when it comes to the third base position, a position that many of the top teams in baseball have filled with some of the best players in baseball.
After years of searching, the Pirates finally found their first baseman of the future in Josh Bell and answered questions regarding that position, so hopefully the team can do the same at third base sooner rather than later.
Baseball Talk on the Web
- Joe Maddon will meet with MLB regarding the ‘Buster Posey rule.’
- John Walters of Newsweek believes the Washington Nationals were “screwed” in the NLDS.
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