Free Agent Market For Second Basemen

The free agent market for second basemen is short on big names and only offers a few players who would be considered solid regulars.  The Twins, Athletics, Mariners, Mets, Nationals, Astros, Cardinals, Dodgers, and Padres could be in the market for second base help.

Solid Regulars

Mark Ellis, Orlando Hudson, and Juan Uribe are credible options to start at second base.  Ellis, the only Type A free agent second baseman, has a $6MM club option.  The Athletics will entertain the idea of bringing him back somehow.  Uribe provides more power and versatility than Hudson.  Hudson is a better choice for OBP.  We're assuming Omar Infante's $2.5MM club option is picked up.

Fighting For Playing Time

Melvin Mora, David Eckstein, Cristian Guzman, Jerry Hairston Jr., Bill Hall, Adam Kennedy, Felipe Lopez, and Nick Punto will have to fight for regular playing time at second base.  Hall had a Uribe-like season, slugging .456 with 18 home runs and playing all over the place.  Mora had a nice year, posting a .358 OBP for the Rockies in 354 plate appearances.  He hasn't played a ton of second base in his career, though.

Utility Players

Most of the remaining free agents will be pushed into utility roles if they haven't already been: Willie Bloomquist, Ronnie Belliard, Craig Counsell, Akinori Iwamura, Julio Lugo, and others.  Several will have to settle for minor league deals.

Potential Non-Tenders

Last year Kelly Johnson was non-tendered by the Braves.  He signed as a free agent with the Diamondbacks and hit .284/.370/.496 with 26 home runs.  This year, Jose LopezRyan Theriot, Mike Fontenot, Clint Barmes, Willy Aybar, and Jeff Baker are potential second base non-tenders.  Lopez, Theriot and Barmes are likely to be cut, though the Giants may retain Fontenot.  Barmes hit 23 home runs back in '09, while Lopez hit 25.  Aybar and Baker are more in the utility mold.

Summary

There won't be much money spent on free agent second basemen this year.  The 2012 class may be more interesting if Dan Uggla, Rickie Weeks, Kelly Johnson, and Freddy Sanchez reach the open market.



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