Second base is rarely a hot spot of trade deadline activity, but it seems even less likely to be an area of focus this time around. Few possible contenders have clear needs at the position, while those that could stand stand to upgrade — say, the Angels and Royals — don’t appear to be particularly likely to swing a major trade. Still, that situation could still change, or another organization could get creative.
Here are the players that could be available:
Brandon Phillips, Braves | $1MM in 2017 (Reds pay remainder of $14MM salary)
Phillips could surely be had if there’s demand; while the Braves are in second place in the NL East, they face very long odds of reaching the postseason. Still, the organization clearly likes the idea of keeping a competitive product on the field, so it may not dump Phillips for a marginal return. The 36-year-old has fallen back to a rather typical .280/.326/.411 batting line for the year, making him a useful player but not a first-division regular. Also, Phillips can still block trades to a dozen teams and has been rather picky in the past.
Howie Kendrick, Phillies | $10MM in 2017
Kendrick is nursing a hamstring injury, though he’d represent a plausible August trade chip even if he doesn’t make it back quickly. H’s hitting as well as ever right now at 34 years of age. While he has mostly appeared of late in left field, Kendrick has seen recent action at second and has drawn solid-enough grades for his work there.
Eduardo Nunez, Giants | $4.2MM in 2017
Nunez isn’t a terribly exciting player, either, but he holds some significant advantages over Phillips. He’s younger, rates much better on the bases, has hit a bit more in recent years, and has plenty of experience on the left side of the infield. In fact, Nunez hasn’t spent much time at second in the majors — just 29 games — but will likely be considered among these players. (Yunel Escobar of the Angels is another player in that general situation, though he hasn’t played second in a major league game since way back in 2007.)
Neil Walker, Mets | $17.2MM in 2017
The 31-year-old was playing at a very high level when he was lost to a significant hamstring injury. He’s starting toward a return, though the best-case timeline will likely see him made available in August rather than at the non-waiver deadline. Walker has been a consistent source of both patience and power over the past two seasons and could be a rather impactful trade addition for the right organization.
Darwin Barney, Blue Jays | $2.8875MM in 2017
Realistically, Barney is a possible utility candidate. But he has spent the bulk of his career at second base. The 31-year-old is off to a brutal .231/.277/.295 start to the 2017 season, though, so it’s tough to imagine a lot of interest.
Controllable Through 2018
Ian Kinsler, Tigers | $11MM in 2017; $10MM club option ($5MM buyout) in 2018
Unlike Brian Dozier, who likely won’t be dealt by the division-rival Twins (at least barring a total collapse over the next two weeks), Kinsler seems eminently available. His partial no-trade clause may complicate things, though perhaps at this point he’d welcome a chance to move to a contender. If the season ended today, Kinsler would own a below-average batting line for the first time in his career. While his top-level output from 2016 likely won’t be repeated, his .251 BABIP suggests there’s some positive regression coming. And Kinsler still rates quite well as a fielder and baserunner.
Jed Lowrie, Athletics | $6.5MM in 2017; $6MM club option ($1MM buyout) in 2018
The A’s have already promoted Lowrie’s likely replacement, youngster Franklin Barreto, and are surely readying to bring him back once the switch-hitting veteran is traded. With good health and a productive .279/.346/.458 batting line through the season’s first half, the 33-year-old is in good position to land with a contender. He’s probably best suited to playing second at this stage, but could serve on the left side of the infield, adding to the appeal.
Asdrubal Cabrera, Mets | $8.25MM in 2017; $8.5MM club option ($2MM buyout) in 2018
It’s still anybody’s guess just how the Mets will proceed with Cabrera, who could still be retained for 2018. He’s hitting at a league-avreage rate (.250/.332/.404), though that’s not nearly as impressive as he was last year. Cabrera also doesn’t typically rate well with the glove; that has held true of his prior time at second, which he last played extensively back in 2014.
Cesar Hernandez, Phillies | $2.55MM in 2017; arb-eligible through 2020
Hernandez posted a breakout 2016 season, with glowing defensive metrics pushing him up to 4.4 fWAR. The hitting work was more solid than great, as Hernandez has little power, but he was an above-average offensive player on the whole. What we’ve seen thus far in 2017 is something of a lite version of that, with slightly less exciting glovework and a slightly below-average batting line. Hernandez is still a nice player, and ought to draw interest when he’s back from the DL, but it seems unlikely he’ll be dealt this summer.
Joe Panik, Giants | Arb-eligible through 2020
It has been a solid overall campaign for Panik, who dealt with injury issues and a performance decline in 2016. He’s hitting right near the league average while playing a quality second base. Still, the overall output has lagged his excellent 2015 showing. San Francisco will listen to offers, but it’ll put a lofty asking price on Panik.
Dee Gordon, Marlins | $7.5MM in 2017; $38MM through 2020 (including $1MM buyout on 2021 club option)
Given the presence of so many other solid, but non-superstar second basemen, it’s a bit tough to see immense market value in Gordon’s contract. He has played well enough this year that it looks to be a reasonable enough rate, but Gordon may never again approach the immense 2015 seasons that earned him the deal in the first place. If Miami decides to pare its future payroll, though, perhaps it can find a taker for most of the commitment.
Jonathan Schoop, Orioles | $3.475MM in 2017; arb-eligible through 2019
There’s no real reason to think that Schoop will be made available, but he’s outperforming just about everyone else on this list. Through 352 plate appearances entering the All-Star break, Schoop owns a .295/.347/.536 slash with 18 long balls. That’s not quite sustainable, and the dingers will boost his arb earning power, but he’s an appealing asset if the O’s decide to consider something drastic.
Yangervis Solarte, Padres | $2.5MM in 2017; $4MM in 2018; 2019-20 club options
While he’s perhaps thought of mostly as a third baseman, since that’s where he played when he broke into the majors, Solarte has mostly lined up at second this year. A solid player on a nice contract, he’ll come with a fairly high asking price — once he returns from an oblique strain, at least.
Josh Harrison, Pirates | $7.5MM in 2017; $10MM in 2018; 2019-20 club options
Many teams would love to have the hyper-athletic Harrison bouncing around the field and the lineup as needs dictate. Given his All-Star worthy output to open the season, and the Bucs’ future need for just such a player, he’s not going to be cheap.