When spring training began for the San Diego Padres this season the last thing on anyone’s mind was who would be starting at third base on opening day. After all, Chase Headley had not been traded in 2012 despite all the rumors of him being sent elsewhere almost all year long.
Not only did Headley ignore all the swirling trade rumors, he went on to have an outstanding year, picking up a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award along the way. However, on March 17th. in a spring training game against the Los Angeles Angels, Headley fractured the tip of his left thumb while sliding into second base trying to break up a double play, and is expected to be out about four to six weeks.
With that news, the Padres will have to turn to these other options in order to try to stay competitive until Headley can return from the disabled list.
You would have gotten pretty nice odds if you had bet that Cody Ransom would be starting at third base for the Padres to start the 2013 campaign. After all, last year playing with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Milwaukee Brewers, Ransom hit a paltry .220 with 11 home runs and 42 RBI in 246 at bats. Ransom is now 37-years-old and with his seventh major league team.
So far this spring with the Padres, Ransom is hitting a respectable .270 with 4 home runs and 8 RBI in 37 plate appearances. If Ransom does see time at third base with Headley out, he could provide an experienced veteran presence for an otherwise very young infield.
Logan Forsythe, the Padres best utility player has battled plantar fasciitis this spring but is probable for opening day. Forsythe only played four games last year at the hot corner, but may have to get used to this utility role more and more now that Jedd Gyorko seemingly will be penciled in to play second base most of this upcoming season.
Forsythe only has 21 plate appearances so far this spring. He is hitting .250 with two triples while being limited by injuries but he could be the starter if he can prove to the brass he will be available by opening day.
The other options that could be available to the Padres would be to play Jedd Gyorko at third base when a right-hander is on the mound for the opposition. This would conceivably allow the Padres to get Alexi Amarista’s bat into the lineup at second base. Amarista is enjoying a really nice 2013 spring campaign. In 64 plate appearances, Amarista is hitting .322 while slugging .458. Amarista played only one game at third base in 2012 and does not figure to be the option at third base in Headley’s absence.
It remains to be seen how willing the Padres are to move Gyorko around early in the season from second base after he worked exclusively there all spring. Gyorko does have significant minor league and collegiate experience at third base and the Padres may be willing to play him there depending upon how the final roster takes shape.