Tap-In Question: Who's your primary third baseman with Hardy shelved? - BaltimoreBaseball.com

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Tap-In Question: Who’s your primary third baseman with Hardy shelved?

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It’s “Yankees Week” at Connolly’s Tap Room, meaning all fake drafts for Orioles’ fans are 27 cents, to remind you of New York’s 27 championships.

Similarly, fake drafts for all Yankees fans are $19.27 to commemorate that great 1927 Yankees team.

We care about history around here, and we try to be all inclusive. So drink up Bronx Bomber Backers.

Now, let’s turn our attention to the Orioles, the team that hasn’t lost six in a row.

The big news this week is the fracture in shortstop J.J Hardy’s left foot, and what the ripple effect will mean on the Orioles and their stellar defense.

Although it took two lineups, Orioles manager Buck Showalter decided to switch Manny Machado from third base to his natural position at shortstop Tuesday night against the Yankees. And that switch likely will be semi-permanent while Hardy is out.

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The big question is who plays third base while Manny is manning short?

Ryan Flaherty received the nod Tuesday, and my guess is he will get the most opportunities to play the position. The assumption is defensive whiz Paul Janish will be recalled from Triple-A Norfolk once he is back from paternity leave. Janish is a .217 career hitter in parts of seven major league seasons, but he is tremendous defensively.

Janish has played third base and shortstop at the major league level – he’s most naturally a shortstop.

So if Showalter wants to stress defense – and we know how much he stresses D – Flaherty and/or Janish is your man.

But there are other options.

Pedro Alvarez, who struggles defensively but has spent most of his career at third base, could be moved from the DH role to the hot corner on occasion. That move would weaken the infield defense, but would give a boost to the offense and potentially strengthen the outfield defense.

Right fielder Mark Trumbo could get some time at DH if Alvarez isn’t in that spot, and that would create more playing time for Nolan Reimold or Hyun Soo Kim in the outfield.

There’s also a thought that Chris Davis could be moved from first to third, allowing Trumbo to get back to first base and keep Alvarez at DH. But I really hate the idea of moving Davis off of first, where he has been so good.

I’ve heard from some readers who think Machado should stay at third – like Davis at first – while putting Flaherty or Janish at shortstop. They believe it’s smart to disrupt only one position, not two or three.

When the smoke clears, I expect Flaherty to be the primary third baseman while Hardy is out.

That’s what I think Showalter will do. Now I want to know what you would do.

Tap-In Question: Who is your primary third baseman with J.J. Hardy shelved? Why?

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