For a long time, talk of the 2011-12 winter revolved around the four first basemen who would hit the market at once. Prince Fielder remains on track to become a free agent after the season, but the class won't be as memorable as it could have been. Albert Pujols could sign an extension within 24 hours, Adrian Gonzalez will probably sign an extension within two months and Ryan Howard is locked up through 2016.
But even though top first basemen are signing long-term deals, next year's free agent class figures to be strong at second base. While Orlando Hudson, and Juan Uribe highlighted the 2010-11 offseason, the upcoming class of free agents figures to feature more stars at second.
Robinson Cano ($14MM club option), Brandon Phillips ($12MM club option) and Aaron Hill (series of club options) could all hit the open market, though it seems likely that their current clubs will retain them, at least through 2012.
Two Bay Area second basemen, Mark Ellis and Freddy Sanchez, are set to hit free agency after the 2011 season. So are Kelly Johnson, who just avoided arbitration, and Rickie Weeks, who is working to do the same. (The Brewers are still discussing a multiyear deal with Weeks, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. I wouldn't be surprised to see the sides reach a deal before long, since they are up against a deadline and Johnson, a top comparable for Weeks, just settled.) Clint Barmes, Omar Infante and Jose Lopez are on track to hit free agency after the season and early non-tender candidate Ryan Theriot could also hit the open market.
Some of the players above will sign extensions or see their options exercised, but teams looking to add proven players should have a deeper than usual class of second basemen to choose from next offseason.