By Matt Snyder
Say what you will about Aramis Ramirez -- as many fans seem to have an extreme dislike of him for some reason -- but he was the only starting-caliber third baseman available this offseason.
No, Michael Cuddyer doesn't fit as an everyday third baseman. He played 14 games there in 2010 and zero last season. So he's not included in this discussion and it would be a huge reach to try and claim he is.
The best remaining free agent third baseman is Wilson Betemit. He is a pretty good hitter and is versatile, but he hasn't played in more than 97 games since 2007. And there's a reason he's played for six teams in nine seasons -- he's just not an everyday player.
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It's possible the Phillies trade Placido Polanco, as he's been mentioned in some light rumors, but would it really be a great idea to deal for a 35-year-old who had back issues last season? He's definitely in decline and has very little power.
So unless the Mets shock everyone and put David Wright up for sale, it would appear the guy currently atop the depth chart at third base for all 30 teams will remain there until opening day. The Tigers are probably stuck with Brandon Inge -- and maybe they just bring back Betemit and stick with the same situation as late last season. The Rockies will need to use internal options. The Marlins need to convince Hanley Ramirez he's happy at the hot corner. The Angels have to go with Alberto Callaspo or move Mark Trumbo across the diamond like they've discussed. And, yes, the Phillies are probably stuck with Polanco.
Put simply, the third base market this offseason consisted of one important name. And that name is now on a contract given by the Milwaukee Brewers.
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