Washington lacks a contingency plan for third base.
All off-season, manager Dave Martinez has reiterated his faith in Washington’s former top prospect Carter Kieboom. The 23-year-old was seen as the future at third base for Washington, but has yet to get going at the major league level. The hype surrounding Kieboom was understandable, after all, he raked at Triple-A, finishing with a slash line of .303/.409/.493. But in 99 at-bats in the MLB, Kieboom is hitting a measly .181, with two homers, 11 RBIs, and an OPS of .541. Defensively, Kieboom is learning third base on the fly, with his natural position of short blocked by Trea Turner. In 2020, Kieboom was a pleasant surprise at the hot corner, posting five DRS.
After his disastrous 2020 campaign, it was reported that Kieboom was suffering from a groin tear during the season and also underwent Lasik surgery. Entering Spring, hopes were high for Kieboom because now he was fully healthy. Sadly, the results have been lackluster. In 35 at-bats, he is hitting .171, with one RBI, 11 strikeouts, and an OPS of .502. While he has looked lost at the plate for the majority of the Spring, Kieboom has hit a double in each of his last two games, hinting that he is finally seeing the ball better.
The front office is putting their faith in Kieboom, deciding against a backup plan in case the youngster struggles. While loyalty is appreciated, this may have been a mistake. Washington’s lineup is nowhere near as potent compared to years past and will be reliant on everyone contributing. If Kieboom continues to struggle, this will hamper Washington, who will be battling it out in the league’s toughest division. I personally would love to see Washington stick with Kieboom and allow the youngster a full opportunity to prove himself. But with the team in win-now mode, they cannot afford a slow start. With that said, here are two contingent plans for third base in case Kieboom starts out slow.