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Curious third-base options for Sox if Youkilis leaves

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012 10:12 a.m. CDT

(MCT) — NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Kansas City currently might have one of the most valuable players in baseball in 24-year-old Mike Moustakas.

Why?

First, Moustakas plays third base, a position several teams (including the Cubs and White Sox) are looking to stabilize during the Winter Meetings.

Second, Moustakas bats left-handed, and the Sox could use a left-handed hitter especially if A.J. Pierzynski signs with another team.

Third, Moustakas is only 24 and is two years away from becoming arbitration eligible.

Finally, Moustakas has plenty of promise, as evidenced by his first-round distiction in 2007 and the fact he hit 20 home runs in his first full major league season with the Royals in 2012.

Given that the free agent market for third basemen is deemed shallow, the Sox might need to get extremely creative in their quest to find a third baseman or fill the position with platoon system should Kevin Youkilis sign with another team.

If the Sox pursue a third baseman who bats left-handed (Eric Chavez, Jack Hannahan), it probably would be as part of a platoon setup.

The other scenario is intriguing because of the moving parts that would accompany such a move.

The Sox have yet to completely rule out moving second baseman Gordon Beckham or Dayan Viciedo to third base.

Beckham's best season occurred in his rookie season in 2009 when he batted .270 with 14 home runs and 63 RBIs. He played adequately at third despite being a shortstop until one week before his promotion to the majors.

Such a move could mean that Carlos Sanchez, the Sox's top infield prospect, would get a shot at starting at second. Sanchez, 20, could use more seasoning in the minors but has impressed at every level.

Dayan Viciedo began his career as a third baseman, and the Sox could move his from left field. But there is some danger in such a switch because it would mark the four position shift for Viciedo, 23, who was learning on the fly as a left fielder last season.

The Sox also would have to find a left fielder, and Dewayne Wise, Jordan Danks and Blake Tekotte are each left-handed hitters not known for their power and aren't perceived as full-time players.

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