Considering the circumstances, we figure to be in for an unusual free agency period in Major League Baseball next offseason. We’ve already run down the most notable catchers, shortstops, and first basemen who are slated to reach the open market once the winter rolls around in several months. We’ll do the same here with second basemen (players’ listed ages are for the 2021 campaign) …
Top Of The Class
- DJ LeMahieu (32): Some felt the Yankees made a really nice value move when they inked DJLM, but nobody predicted a fourth-place finish in the AL MVP voting. It remains to be seen whether LeMahieu can repeat anything like his whopping 2019 output at the plate, but he has long been a high-end defender.
- Jonathan Villar (30): Another player with a bit of a rollercoaster trajectory, Villar has actually matched LeMahieu in career batting output (97 wRC+). And Villar was quite good in 2019, racking up 4 fWAR despite below-average defensive grades by turning in 162 games of quality hitting and league-leading legwork on the bases.
- Kolten Wong (30): It all came together in 2019 for the longtime Cardinals second bagger, who contributed solid work across the board. With a repeat showing, the club is likely to exercise its $12.5MM club option ($1MM buyout).
Other Regulars (based upon 2019 playing time)
- Cesar Hernandez (31): Even at his best, Hernandez has never been anything close to an overwhelming offensive performer. But he does have a ~3 WAR established ceiling and has received fairly regular playing time over the past five seasons.
- Jurickson Profar (28): The once- super-elite prospect has made it through major injury issues but has never fully come around at the MLB level. 2020 could be something of a make-or-break season.
- Jonathan Schoop (29): Though he rebounded from a down 2018, Schoop wasn’t the 30+ homer slugger of yore. Defensive metrics are split on his fielding ability.
Top Timeshare Candidates
- Asdrubal Cabrera (35): After a rough start to the 2019 season, Cabrera caught fire down the stretch with the Nats. He’s unlikely to be an everyday guy come 2021, but is a trusted veteran who could still be seen as an important contributor.
- Daniel Descalso (34): He’s all but certain to be paid a $1MM buyout rather than playing on a $3.5MM club option, barring a huge bounce back after a terrible first season with the Cubs.
- Brian Dozier (34): It would be a surprise if Dozier returns to his levels of quiet stardom after two-straight down years. But he could have a chance to shine in San Diego if Profar falters.
- Dee Gordon (33): It just hasn’t worked out for Gordon in Seattle. The M’s are sure to pay him a $1MM buyout instead of exercising a $14MM club option. But the speedy veteran could still have another act left.
- Howie Kendrick (37): The bat is still legit, though it’s fair to wonder whether the glove still plays at second base. Odds are he’ll be seen mostly at an option in the corners going forward.
- Jed Lowrie (37): It’s anyone’s guess how Lowrie will look when he finally gets back on the field.
- Brad Miller (31): He surged back to life in a short 2019 run with the Phillies … but consistency has proven elusive over the years.
- Eric Sogard (35): His power outburst with the Blue Jays faded after a mid-season trade to the Rays, but Sogard is still being paid to function as a significant contributor in his latest stint with the Brewers.
Adeiny Hechavarria and Freddy Galvis can be considered candidates at second base, though their real value lies in their ability to handle shortstop. Bounceback candidates include Eduardo Nunez and Chris Owings.