Red Sox Rumor: Yonder Alonso an unconventional third base solution

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 28: Yonder Alonso
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 28: Yonder Alonso /

The Boston Red Sox are looking for a power bat who can upgrade the rotating cast they have cycled through at third base. Should they look at Yonder Alonso?

The Boston Red Sox have prepared their shopping list as we approach the MLB trade deadline and chief among their needs is a big bat to fill the void at third base.

Boston has been rumored to be looking at essentially any third baseman who could conceivably be available on the trade market. Considering Red Sox third basemen rank dead last in the league in OPS, almost anyone would be considered an upgrade. Yet now that Todd Frazier is in New York and Martin Prado is on the disabled list, the options are dwindling as time runs out.

Which is why they need to start thinking outside the box. ESPN’s Scott Lauber made an unconventional suggestion, listing Oakland A’s slugger Yonder Alonso as a potential trade target.

The 30-year old made his first All-Star team this year. He’s currently tied for ninth in the league with 21 home runs and eighth with a .929 OPS. If the Red Sox were to acquire him, Alonso would instantly lead the team in both categories. Power problem solved.

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But can he play third base? Sort of. Alonso has 14 games under his belt at the hot corner, so he has played the position. Just not very well. He posted an underwhelming .933 fielding percentage and -2 defensive runs saved in his limited time at third base.

Acquiring a player for his bat and assuming he can fill a position he has limited experience at carries significant risk.  It’s the same square peg in a round hole mentality that led the Red Sox to sign both Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval prior to the 2015 season.

Lauber justifies this reasoning by pointing out that Alonso can DH in games against lefties, with Ramirez covering first base. The Red Sox would still have the slick glove of Deven Marrero to help protect a late lead as a defensive replacement for games in which Alonso starts at third.

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Given the second half struggles of Mitch Moreland, perhaps the Red Sox would start limiting his playing time in favor of using Alonso at his natural first base position. He hasn’t been very good with the glove at first either, but Moreland could back him up as a defensive replacement much like Marrero would at third. This scenario wouldn’t solve the third base riddle, but the platoon of Marrero and Brock Holt wouldn’t be as concerning if the offense was getting a power upgrade with Alonso’s bat.

Alonso’s contract certainly wouldn’t be a stumbling block on the path to acquiring him. He would be owed the remainder of his $4 million salary for this season, which Boston could easily fit into their budget without crossing the dreaded luxury tax line.

The real cost would be the package of prospects it would take him pry him out of Oakland. There’s no doubt the last place A’s would make him available. Alonso will be a free agent after this season, so you would think it shouldn’t take a top-tier prospect to get him. However, he’s one of the top bats on the market and the number of contenders could drive up the price. Whatever return Oakland is seeking, the Red Sox have to at least consider it so long as they keep Rafael Devers and Jay Groome off limits.

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Alonso may not be a perfect fit for what the Red Sox need. They could certainly use his offense, which is good enough that they can probably live with his defense. With the underwhelming third base options remaining on the trade market, it may be time for Dave Dombrowski to consider a more unconventional move.