The New Free Agent Second Baseman Market

As MLBTR's Transaction Tracker shows, second basemen Dan Uggla, Rickie Weeks, and Freddy Sanchez have agreed to extensions since the beginning of the year.  Extensions always reduce the appeal of projected free agent groups, and for 2012 second base took a big hit.

Nine free agents currently project as potential starters at second base in 2012: Clint Barmes, Jamey Carroll, Mark Ellis, Bill Hall, Aaron Hill, Omar Infante, Kelly Johnson, Jose Lopez, and Brandon Phillips.

Phillips would bring the second base class some name value after the losses of Uggla and Weeks.  Offensively Phillips does not stack up with either player.  But with Weeks getting $10-11MM per free agent year, the Reds have a case for retaining Phillips at an $11MM net price for one more year.  The Blue Jays have the option of retaining Hill for $8MM for '12, which would look reasonable with a return to form.

Barmes is expected to play shortstop for the Astros this year, though he'll miss most of April with a broken bone in his hand.  Hall will serve as his double play partner.  They'll earn almost $7MM combined this year, but both must re-establish themselves as effective everyday players.  The Rockies appear open to trading Lopez, who needs regular work to avoid slipping into utility status.  Carroll, who has a solid .356 career OBP, has a chance to establish himself as a regular if he can move past Casey Blake on the Dodgers' depth chart once Blake is healthy.  The Giants' Mark DeRosa could seek a starting second base job, though he hasn't played much there since '08.

Infante, the Marlins' starting second baseman, has a chance to further cement himself as a regular.  He hit .309/.353/.411 in 300 games with the Braves during 2008-10, and should be looking at the second multiyear deal of his career with a strong 2011.  Ellis and Johnson are looking to prove they're worth multiple years at $5-6MM per.  Both were easily worth that salary in 2010, so they're looking for repeat seasons.

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