MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Embarrassment of riches: MLB's deepest positions

Certain clubs have an influx of young and veteran talent

Embarrassment of riches: MLB's deepest positions

Too many bills to pay? That's always a problem. Ditto too much grass to mow or too much snow to shovel.

But too many productive players for one position? Not even a first-world problem.

There's no such thing as too many players for a Major League team, at least not effective ones. A surplus is a luxury that can turn out to be a major blessing when injuries hit, as they so often do. It can also lead to a trade that fills a hole elsewhere in the organization.

There's been a lot of talk about the depth the Dodgers have in the outfield the last couple of years -- and there is some buzz about them trading Andre Ethier -- and here are 10 other teams with more depth than they may know what to do with.

Here are the deepest positions as Spring Training draws closer:

Third base, Cubs
Situation:
Kris Bryant and most of his teammates were blessed with good health in 2015. When Bryant wasn't playing third, it was because he was needed in the outfield. He'll probably play out there less this year, but manager Joe Maddon can be flexible. Javier Baez would step in if Bryant was sidelined, and Ben Zobrist played a little third for the Royals last season. The Cubs will have productive third basemen Christian Villanueva and Jeimer Candelario at Triple-A Iowa.

Forecast: Bryant could move to an outfield corner -- more likely if Kyle Schwarber gets regular time as a catcher -- but appears most valuable as one of the most productive third basemen in the game. Expect him to stay there. It seems almost a given that some of the other young third basemen will be traded, most likely for pitching.

Note: Given the versatility of Baez and the presence of intriguing prospects like Gleyber Torres and Ian Happ, along with Minor League veterans Arismendy Alcantara and Logan Watkins, the Cubs are almost as deep at shortstop and second as third.

Baez's backhanded stop

Second base, Red Sox
Situation:
Dustin Pedroia is healthy, which means he'll look to be aggressive on the bases as well as at the plate this season. That's a good sign for a team that had him for only 93 games last season. Brock Holt returns after filling in for Pedroia nicely in 2015. Sean Coyle has looked like a big league option when healthy because of his power, but he hasn't been reliable. Yoan Moncada, who cost the Red Sox $31.5 million when he signed in Feburary 2015, turns 21 in May. While he hasn't played above Class A, he could push for a spot on Boston's roster for September callups. 

Forecast: With Pedroia signed through 2021, there's no clearly defined timetable for Moncada. Trading Pedroia seems unthinkable, yet Moncada's athleticism begs to be used in the middle infield. This is a good situation to have, but it could become uncomfortable by this time next year.

Corner outfield, Brewers
Situation:
Ryan Braun's suspension in 2013 allowed Khris Davis to get a long look in left field. He took advantage of it to grab a spot opposite Braun, delivering an .809 OPS in 321 games. Davis knocked a career-high 27 homers last season. The rebuilding Brew Crew is stacking up outfield options, acquiring Domingo Santana, Ramon Flores, Rymer Liriano and Kirk Nieuwenhuis since last summer. Eric Young Jr. and Alex Presley will be in camp as non-roster players.

Forecast: While the Brewers would probably welcome a chance to move Braun, 2016 marks just the first season of the five-year extension he signed in 2011. Davis could bring back a nice return in a trade this summer, just as center fielder Carlos Gomez did last year.

Davis' two-homer day

Shortstop, Rockies
Situation:
Trading Troy Tulowitzki might have been better had the Rockies not taken Jose Reyes back in return. He's signed for two more seasons and already seems expendable with Trevor Story, the 45th selection in the 2011 Draft, coming off a 20-homer, 80-RBI season split between Double-A New Britain and Triple-A Albuquerque. Cristhian Adames, 24, is a strong fielder who held his own in a 26-game big league audition last summer. No. 1 prospect Brendan Rodgers, the first high school player drafted last year, projects to be a run producer in the middle of the infield, but he shouldn't be rushed.

Forecast: Rumors about the Rockies flipping Reyes to a contender started when the Tulowitzki trade was announced, but that's less likely with Major League Baseball investigating Reyes' involvement in a domestic-abuse case. A suspension would open the door for Story, but Reyes will play when he's on the roster. Best-case scenario might be Story building a market where he could be traded for pitching. 

Third base, Twins
Situation:
Trevor Plouffe might not have the impact of Brian Dozier, but he has been one of the most consistent Twins since he arrived in 2012. He was expected to be long gone and replaced by rising prospect Miguel Sano, but he produced a 3.9 WAR in 2014 and 2.5 in '15. Sano finished third in American League Rookie of the Year Award voting last season, but he did it as the designated hitter. If Jorge Polanco takes over shortstop, Eduardo Escobar, Danny Santana and Eduardo Nunez will be available as depth pieces at third.

Forecast: Sano is penciled into right field, but at some point, he still projects to succeed Plouffe, who is two years from free agency. Plouffe could be a valuable piece to deal at the non-waiver Trade Deadline or next offseason.

Plouffe turns two

Outfield, Tigers
Situation:
Justin Upton and Cameron Maybin were acquired to play alongside J.D. Martinez. Anthony Gose and Tyler Collins return after solid seasons in 2015, and power-hitting 24-year-old Steven Moya has hit 55 homers between Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo the past two seasons. Nate Schierholtz and John Mayberry Jr. will look to earn jobs in Lakeland, Fla.

Forecast: Moya and advanced prospects like speedster Wynton Bernard appear blocked and could become trade chips. Martinez, two years from free agency, deserves an extension. It will be difficult to work out with the team so heavily invested elsewhere.

Second base, Dodgers
Situation:
Few expected both Howie Kendrick and Chase Utley to be re-signed, but they were. Kiké Hernandez, who hit .307 with an .836 OPS over 202 at-bats in 2015, is back as a depth guy. Elian Herrera, a true utility infielder, and Micah Johnson must be wondering why the Dodgers acquired them early in the offseason.

Forecast: Kendrick and Utley haven't been durable, but they could form a highly productive platoon -- if that's how manager Dave Roberts uses them. Jose Peraza, who was viewed as the long-term heir to Dee Gordon, was traded, so there is now an opportunity for Johnson or another prospect.

Kendrick's fine defense

Third base, Rangers
Situation:
Future Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre, who will play in 2016 at age 37, is one year away from free agency. Joey Gallo, ranked as the No. 9 prospect by MLBPipeline, has homered once every three games in the Minor Leagues. But he is camped in Triple-A Round Rock working on contact issues. Pedro Ciriaco is available as a backup. Drew Robinson, 23, received an invitation to camp after a 21-homer season in Double-A Frisco.

Forecast: Beltre said he'd love to play the rest of his career with the Rangers, but the team is preparing Gallo to take over if it can't sign him to an extension. Gallo will work in the outfield and could fit in the same lineup as Beltre if Josh Hamilton fails to secure everyday status in left field. Teams that have asked have been told Gallo is untouchable due to his extraordinary power.

Center field, Astros
Situation:
Jake Marisnick contributed as Houston's primary center fielder until general manager Jeff Luhnow acquired Gomez as an upgrade. He probably figured that Gomez would take Colby Rasmus' spot in the lineup, but he said he was delighted when Rasmus became the first player to accept a qualifying offer. Former Arizona State center fielder Andrew Aplin is a skilled fielder and contact hitter, and he will likely start the season at Triple-A Fresno. Tony Kemp, blocked by Jose Altuve at second base, has played some center but without immediate success.

Forecast: Rasmus, who split his time between all three outfield spots last season, projects as the everyday left fielder. Both Gomez and Rasmus will be free agents after this season, which will break the logjam. Teams needing outfielders in midseason trades will be calling.

Outlook: Gomez, CF, HOU

Shortstop, Mets
Situation:
Wilmer Flores didn't wilt when forced into a leading role last October, following Utley's takeout slide that broke Ruben Tejada's leg. Nevertheless, general manager Sandy Alderson signed Asdrubal Cabrera to a two-year contract as his primary shortstop. Prospects Gavin Cecchini and Matt Reynolds will both await their turns at Triple-A Las Vegas.

Forecast: Tejada wasn't able to start working out until January, but he hopes to be ready for Spring Training. He and Flores will see plenty of time at third base, lessening the load on David Wright. The Mets would love for them to build some trade value, as it seems they're blocked by Cabrera, who quietly hit .265 with 15 homers for the Rays last year. Cecchini, 22, will be closely watched for signs that he's the long-term answer. A strong spring could put Reynolds in play for teams needing middle-infield help.

Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.