Looking at Free Agents and Trade Targets – Second Basemen

December 7, 2009 at 3:51 pm 1 comment

I delayed this post until all the arbitration offering muck was sorted through. And with that I give you this offseason’s available second basemen.

Placido Polanco – Uh ohz looks like the Phillies went a little nuts. Had they not noticed the precipitous drop in Polanco’s offensive numbers across the board during the past few seasons? Or perhaps the fact that his 2007 season was more an outlier than an indication of his true abilities. Polanco is not going to get better. And in the final year of that 3 year, 18M deal, Ruben Amaro is going to look damn stupid.

Orlando Hudson – What an enigma, this man. Well he is as enigmatic as can be for someone who puts up the exact same numbers every year. Well not quite. In fact, perhaps Hudson isn’t an enigma at all; it just seems people have such strongly divergent views of him. During his time in Arizona, the hitter friendly confines of Chase Field provided him with a surge in slugging percentage out of line with the rest of his career. In other words, Hudson cannot be expected to slug .450 + outside of a very hitter friendly ballpark. He can be expected to hit .280, to take a few walks (9.0% BB rate, and to hit a few (Probably less than 50) extra base hits. He also has a reputation as having some semblance of defensive prowess. ..Sometimes he does. In 2004, he posted a 16.1 UZR/150. That’s quite a season from a plus hitting second baseman, however, he has seen a significant decline since then. The ol UZR/150 came down to 9.1 in 2005, was close to zero the next two years, and has been on the negative side from ’08 to ’09. With the Dodgers, it was -3.7. Then there is the startling move by Joe Torre in benching Hudson as the Dodgers came down the stretch run. For Ronnie Belliard?? Something happened there, and it wasn’t just Hudson having a minor two week slump just as the team acquired Ronnie B. Is Hudson a total prick? Does he get in the face of his managers? Does he secretly kill babies? I’m not sure, but that mysterious intangible quality is what figures to keep Hudson’s price below that of Polanco’s.


It’s black to the AL

Destination? Well he could feasibly go a number of places. But I’m going with Oakland.

Felipe Lopez – Lopez is getting less press than that of Hudson and Polanco. And that skepticism likely comes as a result of Lopez having a few bad years in Cincinatti and Washington. In fact, since he became a full time starter in 2005, his only bad season came in 2007. And by bad, I mean bad enough to the point where not every team should look into him as a legitimate option. Because other than that season, he’s been great. And he’s still young! What we can glean from UZR data is that he’s an awful shortstop, and in only two full seasons he’s proven he can be a decent enough 2nd baseman. His OBP last year was .383. I’d take him over Hudson, personally.


Destination? This is another guy that possibly the whole league should consider. Which is too bad, because I was hoping the Twins could sign him under the radar. It’s like when you’re playing Monopoly, and someone lands on your property, but you don’t notice so they don’t have to pay. Sadly, baseball isn’t that dense, and Lopez will likely fall into the hands of the… Braves.

Adam Kennedy – Adam “3 home runs in the deciding game of the 2002 ALCS” Kennedy enjoyed a nice bounce back season after some awful seasons in St. Louis. At least offensively. His defense slipped last year, at least according to UZR data, from being elite to being well below average at both 2nd and 3rd base. But he did hit 11 home runs and generally comport himself competently with the bat. He leads the second tier of 2nd basemen once you get past Lopez and Hudson.


That is correct, ladies. You are rollin’ with THE Adam Thomas Kennedy

Destination? Really, predicting these is a bit of a crapshoot. I think Oakland might just resign him, honestly, as they’ve shown with their Marco Scutaro offer that they have some flexibility. Of course, if they do sign Hudson, Kennedy will probably end up with the Rays or something.

Jamey Carrol – Ooh now we get to the good ones. 36 year old journeyman utility players. He’s really not without value, however, as he’s shown the consistent ability to get on base (10.1% career BB rate), as well as be a plus defender at both second and third base. Obviously he’s old and has about as much power as Jason Tyner, but teams could do far worse on a one year deal. I wouldn’t surprised if, given as many PA’s (Big if), Carrol outperformed new Red Sock Scutaro next year.

Destination? Twins. They won’t make a play until the big names are gone, and that would seem to place Carrol right in their laps. He’ll be somewhat bemoaned by Twins fans, as he’s never really been an everyday player (Although his closest season to being a regular, 2006, he hit .300 and put up a .781 OPS in 534 PA’s), and he’ll probably remind people of Mike Lamb. But.. seriously it wouldn’t be the stupidest move in the world.

Ronnie Belliard – At some point this guy has to fall off the face of the earth. But somehow, at age 35, he still manages competent offensive production. He hasn’t had an OPS lower than .725 since 2002. And in most years he gives you average defense at second or third. But he’s so old and so fat! He can’t keep this up much longer.


Real gangstas don’t run for shit, cuz real gangstas can’t run fast.

Destination? C’mon Joe Torre you know you want him back. Quit playin’.

Mark DeRosa – I’m including DeRosa here, but he’s probably more likely to be signed as a third baseman. Anyway, since becoming a full time player at the age of 31, DeRosa has been an above average offensive player. And in 2007 and ’08 with the Cubs, he was a stellar defensive player at third. In ’09, he regressed in terms of defense and batting average, but improved his power numbers. Whoever signs him can expect something like .270/.350/.440 with servicable defense. That’s not worth a ton for a third baseman, but many teams could do worse. And I’m looking at the Twins right now.


Yeah, I know the Mets suck. But at least you’ll get money. Dontcha like money, Markie?

Destination? ..Mets. He seems like a Mets sort of player. Although playing for them would likely result in him finally regressing in terms of performance, since that’s what Met’s multi year contracts result in. Oh well Mark, you had a good run.

Mark Ellis – Might the A’s want to dangle him? He has a history of both injuries, defensive prowess, some power, and quite a few down years, which may have been caused by the injuries. Any team that sought him could probably expect a .260/.310/.410 type season with good defense, which is actually rather valuable. And if he stays healthy, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Ellis recaptures some of his .316/.384/.477 magic of 2005.

Destination? I wonder if any team would try him as a starter, given his injury history and fluctuating performance. Maybe the Blue Jays wouldn’t be opposed to plugging Ellis in at Shortstop with the departure of Scutaro.

Kelly Johnson – Wow, everyone seems to have written off Kelly Johnson as a piece of shit. He’s not considered a starter, he should be non tendered; this guy must have had sex with the media’s wife or something, because it hates him. He put up OPS’s of .831 and .795 over full seasons in ’07 and ’08. He BABIP wasn’t extraordinarily high in those years, and his defense, while not great, wasn’t atrocious (And it improved to being about average in 2009, with a UZR/150 of -.2). He provided power and OBP to a lineup that could really use it. Then his BABIP shoots down to .249 in 2009 and all of a sudden Martin Prado is the answer. Yes, Prado had a pretty good year. But it was one year. Teams should try and get Johnson while his value is at its lowest, because he is seriously undervalued.

This isn’t the NFL. One bad year doesn’t mean he’s done.

Destination? Pittsburgh. Prove you’re for real, Huntington.


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Thy Heartless New Yorkers shalt no longer Covet our Dear Mauer A New Season is Upon Us! + Rotation Projections

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Jon Heyman is a Damn Fool « Two Seam Fastblog  |  December 11, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    […] finally, Heyman champions the 18 million handed out to Placido Polanco. I discussed in the 2nd basemen free agents post about how Ruben Amaro will be regretting that contract, if not this year, then next year. Polanco […]


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