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.
- 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.
- Jeff Keppinger, Rays, 2.0 WAR – Keppinger could be looking at a two-year deal in this market.
- Brandon Inge, Athletics, 1.5 WAR – Inge rebounded to put together a solid season after being released by the Tigers earlier in the year.
- 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.
- Kevin Youkilis, White Sox, 1.4 WAR – Youkilis’ contract includes a $13MM club option for 2013.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Scott Rolen, Reds, 0.9 WAR – Once a force on offense and defense, Rolen can no longer be counted on for 100-plus games.
- 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.