A's 2013 roster breakdown: Third base

November 30, 2012, 11:23 pm
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Editor's note: This is the fourth installment of the Oakland A's position-by-position offseason breakdown, teeing up the team's options for the 2013 season.The departure of Eric Chavez left the A's starting guys like Jack Hannahan, Adam Kennedy, and Kevin Kouzmanoff, and Oakland felt it had finally found its answer at third in Scott Sizemore. He smacked 11 homers and drove in 52 runs in 95 games with the A's in 2011, but in the first full squad workout in spring training, Sizemore tore the ACL in his left knee and was lost for the season. With Sizemore out for the year, the A's relied on catcher-turned-third baseman Josh Donaldson. He struggled to keep the job, though. Donaldson only hit .153 with one homer and seven RBIs in 28 games spanning two stints in the first half of the season. Without an answer at the hot corner, the A's added Brandon Inge. The veteran third baseman changed the chemistry of the A's clubhouse and crushed four home runs while driving in 16 runs over a stretch of five games shortly after being acquired. As Inge enjoyed a career renaissance with the A's, Donaldson worked hard in Triple-A. When Inge went on the DL in August, Donaldson took the job and ran with it. In Donaldson's final 47 games, he hit .290 with 11 doubles, eight home runs, and 26 RBIs. "It's safe to say the way Josh played, he's a guy we are thinking about over at third going forward," A's general manager Billy Beane said at the conclusion of the season. "He seemed to settle in when he played at third everyday. That's his natural position out of college. He played it great. He did everything that you would want a young third baseman to do.""He has a lot to be proud of going into next season," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Absolutely, he should be considered in the plans here."So, which Josh Donaldson will the A's get in 2013? The one that mashed and hit key home runs in the second half? Or the one that struggled in the first half? We just might find out. Donaldson is considered the favorite to win the third base job in 2013, especially because Sizemore will be moved back to second base. That's a huge vote of confidence from the front office. The A's should also consider bringing back Inge. The free agent market at third base is very thin this offseason. He is coming off season-ending shoulder surgery and could be affordable. The A's could really use some depth at third base. Inge, who was a finalist for a Rawlings Gold Glove award in 2012, would provide very capable defense and give the A's leadership presence in the clubhouse. Here in 2013:Josh Donaldson, 75 G, .241 AVG, .289 OBP, 9 HR, 33 RBI
Adam Rosales, 3 G
Grant Green, 11 G (AAA)
Eric Sogard, 14 G
Scott Sizemore, DNP

Free Agents:Brandon Inge
Biggest Question:Can Donaldson parlay his strong second half into full-time success at the hot corner?Analyst's Take -- Shooty Babitt:"They always talk about that sophomore jinx. I think Donaldson snuck up on a lot of people last year but he does have a chance to be a good Major League player. I don't think third base will have a lot of competition. That's his job to fall flat on his face or lose at this point." "The dude does have an incredible amount of confidence and if you talk to him, there's no way in the world to get him to believe he wasn't supposed to do the things that he did last year. He showed ability and confidence." Best Available (and possibly affordable)Brandon Inge, 36
Jack Hannahan, 32
Mark DeRosa, 38
Scott Rolen, 38
Eric Chavez, 35