Top Free Agent Second Basemen for 2013
If you are a Major League general manager and your team is in need of a second baseman for next season and beyond, you better hope there is help on the farm or that you can pull off a productive trade because the upcoming free agent class at that position is unappealing.
Of course, that assessment would dramatically change if the New York Yankees astonishingly opted for a $2 million buyout of Robinson Cano‘s contract instead of exercising a $15 million team option on one of the most complete players in the game.
Since that scenario is as likely as Ron Paul becoming our next President, general managers in need of second base help will find names best suited as utility men than starters.
Top five free agent second baseman on the market this off-season:
Signed to a one-year, $1.5 million deal this season by Tampa Bay, the 32-year-old Keppinger is one of the Rays’ most valuable hitter in 2012. With Evan Longoria missing most of the year because of an oblique injury, and the Rays struggling to scratch together runs, Keppinger has played first base, second base, third base and DH in 2012, batting .316 with six home runs and 30 RBI in 293 plate appearances. Keppinger is one of the game’s most versatile utility players, but he did hit .288 in 575 plate appearances for Houston in 2010.
A first round pick by the Braves out of high school back in 2000, the 30-year-old Johnson produced impressive offensive numbers with the Diamondbacks in 2010 when he batted .284 with 26 home runs and 71 RBI. He added 21 dingers between Arizona and Toronto last season but hit just .222 and has a .220 average with 14 home runs for the Blue Jays this season. He is on a one-year, $6.3 million deal in 2012.
Like Keppinger, the 31-year-old Izturis can play multiple positions, mostly second base, shortstop and third base. He has a .274 career average over nine Major League seasons, but his production has slipped in 2012. Izturis has a .259 average with two home runs and 18 RBI in 276 plate appearances for the Angels, the uniform he has worn since 2005. He made his big league debut with the then Montreal Expos in 2004.
4. Jeff Baker
Baker is even more versatile than Keppinger and Izturis. Between the Cubs and Tigers this season, the 31-year-old has played first base, second base, third base, left field, right field and DH. He has a .261 average with four home runs and 24 RBI overall. A career .269 hitter over eight Major League seasons, Baker is a valuable player to have on any team, but not someone who should be relied upon for 500-plus plate appearances.
5. Ryan Theriot
Continuing our theme, the 32-year-old Theriot has seen action all around the diamond over his eight-year Major League career. He has seen a bulk of his playing time at second base and shortstop, but he can play third base and the corner outfield spots. Theriot has a .263 average in 358 plate appearances for the Giants after batting .271 in 483 plate appearances for the World Series winning St. Louis Cardinals last season.