Jedd Gyorko enters his age-32 season after a respectable campaign with the Milwaukee Brewers. He is coming off of his best season since 2018. Yes, the season was much shorter than normal, but nothing about the small sample size was uniquely unsustainable. He could be a solid choice for a team that needs a regular third baseman.
The 5’10” third baseman posted a .248/.333/.504 slash line with nine home runs in 135 plate appearances. That translated the best wRC+ of Gyorko’s career at 118. His previous best was 113 as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2017. It was good enough to tie Kyle Seager in the top 15 among third basemen to have at least 100 plate appearances in 2020.
The most encouraging of Gyorko’s results were an 11.1% walk rate and 43.2% hard-hit percentage. Both were new career-highs for the veteran infielder. It’s impossible to say if those numbers will translate into a trend, but it is possible that Milwaukee helped him adjust his hitting approach.
Overall, Gyorko has been a fine player over the course of eight major league seasons. He has a career slash line of .245/.310/.424 with 121 home runs in 2,983 plate appearances. His defense has also been fine with five defensive runs saved at third base over the course of 2,099 innings.
Nothing about Gyorko’s game is outstanding, but he is a veteran third baseman who has demonstrated significant pop in his bat, especially against left-handed pitching. He should be an affordable option for a team that needs some reliability on the left side of the diamond.
Potential Landing Spots for Jedd Gyorko
St. Louis Cardinals
What better place to return than the one where Gyorko experienced his most sustained success. He had over 6.0 WAR as a Cardinal and was a reliable member of a team that struggled to make the playoffs, but was still above .500 in every season he was there. St. Louis is like many NL Central teams in that they are not eager to add salary for 2021, but third base is a glaring hole at the moment.
The Cards would have used Tommy Edman at third base, but he likely moves over to second with Kolten Wong gone after the team declined Wong’s option. That leaves Matt Carpenter as the primary third basemen, which is not an exciting proposition. The 35-year-old saw his production decline for a second consecutive season. He still showed good plate discipline with a 13.6% walk rate. The problem was a contact rate that cratered to just 68.6%. His defense is acceptable for third base, but it’s hard to know how that will progress with age. Gyorko and Carpenter would be a good platoon duo against left-handed and right-handed pitching, respectively.
The Washington Nationals have Carter Kieboom projected as the team’s third baseman of the future, but the 23-year-old struggled in 2020. He hit .202/.344/.212 in 122 plate appearances while sharing the position with Asdrubal Cabrera and Josh Harrison. Cabrera is a free agent while Harrison plays more than just third base. Gyorko would add some solidity behind Kieboom while Harrison is used more as a super-utility infield/outfield option. The Nationals don’t necessarily need Gyorko, but he might help keep the team’s championship window open for at least one more season. He is a fine player that won’t cost significant money going into the 2021 season.
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