There is still a lot of uncertainty as to who will be playing third base for the Baltimore Orioles when their opening day game against the Tampa Bay Rays rolls around in early April. One target, Pedro Feliz, who was said to be at the top of the Orioles wish list for Christmas has already been grabbed by the Houston Astros. This however is not a terrible loss for the O’s because Feliz would have produced the same as Melvin Mora last year and would not have provided much of an upgrade until Josh Bell arrives in Baltimore.
The Third base free agent crop is a lot scarcer than Andy McPhail would like to admit. It consists of guys who are coming off a year or two lack of productivity. Others come with injury risks or an unwanted steroid cloud above their name. However, the most promising free agent pickup could be in Garrett Atkins. Atkins, is coming off an abysmal 2009 season where he managed to only bat .226 with nine home runs. He is however a career .289 hitter and hit at least 20 homeruns in a three year span from 06-08. Also, to be noted is in 2008, Atkins hit over .350 against lefties. That stat alone could be very intriguing for the Orioles. The question with Atkins is are you going to get the from the 3rd basemen. Are you going to get the guy who could barely put the bat on the ball or a run producing power threat from the right side of the plate.
There has also been noted interest in San Diego Padres third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff around the league. Kouzmanoff would be harder to get for the Orioles, because of other teams interest in the young third basemen. Although, Kouzmanoff only batted .255 last year, he did post a .287 batting average away from pitcher friendly Petco Park. Noted, the Orioles would have to be willing to match the Padres requests for them to feel the need to move him. Unless they sign Atkins the Baltimore Orioles will most likely make a deal to fill their need at third.