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AL East by Position: Third Base

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1. Alex Rodriguez (Yankees) - Let's get it out of the way: Alex Rodriguez is a formerly roided up douche bag who annoys people pretty much every time he opens up his mouth. He wears Wet-n-Wild Razzle Dazzle lip gloss and slaps the ball out of people's gloves like some kind of namby-pamby and yells behind players when they're trying to catch a pop up. He's an undeniable fame whore who is desperate for the attention and approval of everyone around him. I'd take him on my team even with all of that ridiculousness, though, because he is one of the most talented baseball players in the history of the game and possibly the best I've ever seen. He'll be 34 in 2010 and thus in the supposed decline of his career, but even a declined A-Rod is better than most other things you're going to see.

2. Evan Longoria (Rays) - If the baseball fairy came to me and said, "You can pick one position player from any other team to add to the already existing players on the Orioles,"  Longoria is the player I would take. He's obviously not the best position player in baseball right now, but for being just 23 years old his numbers are phenomenal. In just less than two seasons he has 60 HR and 75 2B and he's only going to get better. He does strike out a ton but I subscribe to the Adam Dunn philosophy of hitting: when you OPS >.900 (which I'm certain Longoria will do this year and beyond) who gives a darn how many times you strike out? He increased his walks from 2008 to 2009 and if he can stay up around 75 BB he'll be good to go. Oh, and of course it doesn't hurt that he plays great defense.

 

3. Adrian Beltre (Red Sox) - There are a lot of mixed opinions about Beltre and how much value he brings a team. There is no denying his glove is one of the best in the game. Every defensive metric available (including my EYES) tells me how amazing Beltre is at third base. Even in years when his bat is substandard (such as last year, for example), Beltre's glove carries him. Beltre signed a one year deal with the Red Sox in the hopes that being on a contending team in a hitter friendly ballpark will boost his numbers for a big payday in 2011. It was a smart move for both him and the Red Sox and I think he's going to have a very good year.

4. Miguel Tejada (Orioles) - Ah, Miggi. What is there to say? He's playing third base for the first time in his career but I don't think he'll have too much trouble. He was never a defensive whiz at shortstop but he always had a strong arm. With Izturis at SS I think the left side of the infield will be just fine defensively. Tejada's bat will definitely help the Orioles lineup in 2010 and as long as he doesn't start acting like a giant baby he could be a fine addition to the team. He obviously doesn't come close to the current talent of Rodriguez or Longoria, but if he puts up a solid year at the plate (in line with his 2009) he could be almost as valuable as Beltre.

5. Edwin Encarnacion (Blue Jays) - I honestly don't know much about Edwin Encarncion so before I just threw him at the bottom of the list based on his numbers and the fact that he's a Blue Jay, I did a little research. He was drafted in the 9th round of the 2000 Amateur Draft by the Reds and in 2005 was ranked the Red #1 prospect by John Sickels and the 28th best hitter in the minors. He hasn't lived up those expectations though and it's now 5 years later. Encarnacion will be 27 years old in 2010 and will be going into his 5th full time season. At this point it seems like being league average is the best the Blue Jays can hope for from him.