Free Agent Rankings: Second Base
By Chris Logel
As we move our free agent rankings around the horn, we settle today on second base. Miami used two primary second baseman last year, Donovan Solano and Derek Dietrich. Both players were right around replacement level at the position, something that the Marlins have not been used to, enjoying the services of Omar Infante and Dan Uggla previously. We usually lay out 2 posts for each position, but due to the scarcity of quality players, this post will just be extra long. Without further ado, let’s begin.
Sep 28, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano (24) gets a hit during the sixth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
The prize of free agency. That is how many feel about the Yankee second baseman. Cano, coming off of another stellar season, is 31 years old and should have a few more good years left. He provides power from the second base position, hitting more than 25 home runs for the last 5 consecutive years. He has a .355 career OBP and a .504 career slugging percentage.
One of Cano’s strengths has been his durability. During the last 7 seasons he has not missed more than 3 games in any of them. He doesn’t provide much in the stolen base category, but he gets on base and scores runs. He is a complete player, a good defender and excellent hitter. He is a perennial all-star and a cornerstone piece that you can build a team around.
So why am I not too high on Cano? The contract. The 200 million dollar elephant in the room. I have seen quite a few contract numbers being thrown around for Cano, and all of them are astronomical. I have seen 8 year and 10 year contract lengths. It seems like the sky is the limit for his upcoming contract. The problem is, more often than not, these types of contracts end up failing miserably. Yankees fans don’t have to go far to see this first hand. Alex Rodriguez‘s albatross of a contract cost New York 28 million dollars last year. He hit 7 home runs. I did the math so you don’t have to. That is 4 million dollars per home run. Not exactly a great return on investment. Not to mention, they still owe him 86 million over the next 4 years unless they are able to void his contract with his steroid drama.
It’s not just Rodriguez. One of the best hitters ever, Albert Pujols, seemed to hit a wall this year and he still has quite a long time on his contract. He may recover, but probably not to the degree that his contract is worth.
The good news for me is that there is little, to no, chance that the Marlins will sign Cano. Our senior editor Ehsan Kassim even wrote about it earlier in the week. Look for Cano to resign with the Yankees, or possibly the Dodgers. I know, I know, the Dodgers said they weren’t interested. Well they have a lot of money to spend and a glaring hole at second base, you do the math.
Likelihood of Becoming a Marlin: 1/10
Oct 17, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers second baseman Omar Infante (4) throws to first base against the Boston Red Sox in game five of the American League Championship Series baseball game at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
I have to confess, I miss Infante a little bit. A full season of Solano and Dietrich will do that to you. Infante enters free agency as the clear number 2 behind Robinson Cano, with sizeable room behind him. Infante is a solid defender and a good hitter. He has the potential to hit double-digit home runs and hit .300. He is 32 years-old and should be receiving offers in the 3 to 4 year range.
Infante is a great player to have on your team for utility reasons. He can pretty much play any position on the field. He is a former all-star and will presumably be making around 8 million dollars a year in his upcoming contract.
The real question mark for Miami is whether Infante would even be willing to come back. I didn’t hear much in the way of disappointment when Infante was traded. It seemed that he was happy to move to a contender, but you never know. If some of the dysfunction in the Marlins front office was/is true, he may not be willing to subject himself to that again.
Miami is a desperate for consistent, veteran leadership and Infante provides that, nevertheless, I don’t see the Marlins able to secure his services. Look for him to sign with the Dodgers this year.
Likelihood of Becoming a Marlin: 3/10
There are a few other second baseman out there that the Marlins may pursue. Brian Roberts is a massive health risk, but has a record of producing when healthy, and Mark Ellis is more of an above average utility player, than every day second baseman. It would not surprise me to see one of these players in a Marlins uniform next year.
Here is the complete list of free agents from MLB Trade Rumors:
Robinson Cano (31)
Alexi Casilla (29)
Jamey Carroll (40)
Alberto Gonzalez (31)
Mark Ellis (37)
Omar Infante (32)
Brendan Harris (33)
Kelly Johnson (32)
Brian Roberts (36)
Ryan Roberts (33)
Ramon Santiago (34)
Skip Schumaker (34)
Chris Valaika (28)
Josh Wilson (33)
What do you think? Does anyone on the list jump out at you as a potential second baseman for the Fish next year? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.