The Top 5 Available Second Basemen In 2014 MLB Free Agency
Top 5 2B In 2013 MLB Free Agency Market
With two games down in the 2013 World Series, the offseason is almost upon us, which will bring rapid fire action that would make some think they were in the Wild Wild West as teams look to make major moves to rile up both their fan base and their locker room. After all, only one team will truly be able to claim they were champions going into the four-month break in action, and as seems to be the instinct of most GMs that the only way to the only way hunt the champion down is to make the biggest splash possible via free agency.
With free agency looming, the rumor mills have already started to churn on overdrive, as every fan throughout the country ponders as to what their favorite team's front office will decide to do over the offseason. Of course, this chatter is simply rumor at this point, as no team would dare to make a move while the World Series is being played. But, that does not mean that many rumors do not carry at least some merit.
But before any team can begin to even think about making a move that will better their franchise, they first must gain a grip on what the open market will look like. With this in mind, I have compiled a list of the top five second baseman who will be available via free agency and what their value will be during the upcoming offseason, in turn letting front offices and their fans know what this portion of the market will look like.
5. Alexi Casilla
Alexi Casilla has never been an offensive force during his seven-year career, and the 2013 season was no different. While playing in 62 games for the Baltimore Orioles, the second baseman put up a statistical line of .214/.268/.295 with four doubles, one triple, one home run and 10 RBIs. Fortunately for Casilla, this poor offensive total is flanked by a defensive skill set that can stand up to any second baseman in MLB, as evidenced by his 2.4 dWAR over the last two seasons. This defensive skill will keep the phone ringing for Casilla throughout the winter, and will likely earn him a deal in the region of two years at $2 million annually.
4. Kelly Johnson
Kelly Johnson's statistical line of .235/.305/.410 with 16 home runs and 52 RBIs for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2013 does not look especially impressive at first glance, but upon a deeper compilation of his production, a different story is told. According to Baseball Reference, Johnson's oWAR was 1.0 and his dWAR was 0.0, signifying that he performed better than other second baseman around the league at the plate and was average in the field. This was further signified from his total WAR of 1.3, which will surely earn the second baseman some looks from young and SABR-savvy front offices around the league. With this in mind, it would be no surprise to see Johnson earn a one-year deal worth roughly $4 million during the offseason.
3. Nick Punto
Nick Punto had an above-average season both offensively and defensively in 2013 for the Los Angeles Dodgers, although he split time between his favored second base with third base and shortstop. At the plate, Punto put up a statistical line of .255/.328/.327 with 15 doubles, two home runs and 21 RBIs over 116 games played, in turn earning a 1.1 oWAR. Meanwhile, he played above average defense, scooping up every ball that came his way while compiling a 1.5 dWAR. Overall, Punto put up a solid WAR of 2.2, which will likely help earn him a contract near two years at $4.5 million annually.
2. Omar Infante
Omar Infante quietly had a great season for the Detroit Tigers in 2013, putting up a statistical line of .318/.345/.450 with 24 doubles, 10 home runs and 51 RBIs in 118 games. This solid offensive production was flanked by Infante playing very average defense at second base, making all plays expected of him but not doing anything spectacular. Teams will not be looking for defense from Infante though, but rather his bat that has consistently sprayed balls throughout numerous outfields during his 11-year career. Expect Infante to get a three-year deal at roughly $6.5 million annually.
1. Robinson Cano
Robinson Cano is not only the undoubted top free agent second baseman going into the offseason, but the top free agent in all of MLB. Over the last seven seasons, he has missed 13 games while hitting .302 of higher in six of those years, and has at least 25 home runs and 94 RBIs in five of these years. On the defensive end of things, Cano has been spectacular, winning gold gloves in 2010 and 2012 and becoming at least a finalist for the award this season. With Cano searching for a 10-year, $310 million contract from the New York Yankees prior to hitting free agency, it is clear he is in for a huge pay day. Don't expect that number to be hit, but it would be easy for Cano to earn a seven-year deal at $23 million annually once the Yankees start bidding against other teams in the free agent market.