Top Free Agent Infielders

Each year's free agent class has its strengths and weaknesses. For example, last offseason's class featured a pair of elite first basemen and more shortstop depth than usual. FanGraphs unveiled its free agent leaderboards today and they offer a position-by-position look at the upcoming free agent class. 

As Dave Cameron noted on Twitter, this year’s group is especially deep in the outfield. Allow me to add to that observation: it’s especially deep in the outfield and especially shallow on the infield. Here’s a look at the top ten free agent infielders (no designated hitters or catchers) ranked by FanGraphs’ version of wins above replacement. 

  1. Adam LaRoche, Nationals, 3.1 WAR – LaRoche’s contract includes a $10MM mutual option for 2013. He would like to re-sign with the Nationals.
  2. Jeff Keppinger, Rays, 2.0 WAR – Keppinger could be looking at a two-year deal in this market.
  3. Brandon Inge, Athletics, 1.5 WAR – Inge rebounded to put together a solid season after being released by the Tigers earlier in the year.
  4. Marco Scutaro, Giants, 1.5 WAR – Scutaro figures to be in demand this offseason, but he isn’t adding the same offensive value he did a few years ago.
  5. Kevin Youkilis, White Sox, 1.4 WAR – Youkilis’ contract includes a $13MM club option for 2013.
  6. Eric Chavez, Yankees, 1.2 WAR – We’re getting into backup territory here. No disrespect to Chavez, who has had an excellent career and continues to add value, but it’s hard to believe he’s the sixth-best free agent infielder out there.
  7. Mark Reynolds, Orioles, 1.0 WAR – The hot-hitting Reynolds offers more power than any free agent infielder except LaRoche with 21 home runs. The Orioles have an $11MM club option for 2013.
  8. Ronny Cedeno, Mets, 1.0 WAR – One of the top ten free agent infielders available this winter is Cedeno, the Mets' backup shortstop/second baseman.
  9. Scott Rolen, Reds, 0.9 WAR – Once a force on offense and defense, Rolen can no longer be counted on for 100-plus games.
  10. Adam Kennedy, Dodgers, 0.8 WAR – To put 0.8 wins above replacement in context it's the ninth-best total in Kennedy's career. Yet it's enough for him to place among the top ten infielders available.

The contract options for Jhonny Peralta and Robinson Cano figure to be exercised, so those players aren't included above.

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