Free Agent Stock Watch: David Eckstein

He's not the free agent middle-infielder that everybody's going to be talking about this offseason, but David Eckstein is in the midst of a strong year. The 5'7" second baseman is living up to his reputation as a player who does the little things right.

Eckstein, now 35, is playing great defense, hitting .302/.362/.395, stealing bases efficiently and, as Dave Cameron of FanGraphs points out, Eckstein's contact skills are exceptional.

If Eckstein reminds you of another former Blue Jays shortstop with tremendous control of the strike zone and solid defense, you're probably thinking of Marco Scutaro, who turned a breakout season into a $12.5MM payday last winter. Despite the similarities between the two, Scutaro is younger and has more power. By the time Eckstein becomes a free agent, he will be 20 months older than Scutaro was when the Red Sox signed him. 

Eckstein's age may prevent teams from offering multi-year deals, but if he continues playing like this, he should sign a contract worth more than the $1MM he'll make in 2010. Eckstein's 2007 batting line of .309/.356/.382 earned him a $4.5MM guarantee from the Blue Jays the following winter. He's hitting at a nearly identical clip this year and playing better defense, which could be enough for a $3-6MM deal this offseason.

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