There were two All-Stars on the market, but Robinson Cano and Brandon Phillips were signed to their options, and the Marlins also recently agreed to a deal to retain Omar Infante.
That makes this group of available second basemen pretty pitiful. If a team plucks a decent starter from this list, I'd be surprised.
There are a few who are decent utility and backup options, such as Jamey Carroll, Nick Punto and Jerry Hairston Jr. A look at the top five second basemen on the market:
1. Kelly Johnson: The Diamondbacks gave up him in midseason after hitting .209 with 18 homers in 114 games, trading him to the Blue Jays for another disappointing player in Aaron Hill (se below). Johnson alternates decent years with bad ones, and he'll be just 30 next spring, so perhaps a team will get the 2010 Johnson, who hit .284 with 26 homers and 71 RBI. Will be interesting to see if he's tendered by the Blue Jays. He made $5.85 million last season.
2. Aaron Hill: Johnson's counterpart - Hill has just a little more power - also has some upside, and he did perform well down the stretch for the Diamondbacks, hitting .315 in 33 games with two homers and 16 RBI. That only raised his average last season to .246, and comes on the heels of a .205, 26-homer season in Toronto in 2011. He has an option on his contract, but he's not worth the $8 million annual deal. If the Diamondbacks can get that in half or so, they might be tempted to work something out.
3. Nick Punto: Emerged in the postseason, and is the most versatile player in this group, giving teams options at other infield spots and even in the outfield. He has no power and is a .249 career hitter, but he had a solid .809 OPS in part-time play for the Cardinals last season.
4. Jerry Hairston Jr.: There will be a market for a player as versatile as Hairston, who seems to play for two teams every year but ends up in the playoffs. The 14-year veteran hits for decent average, some power and can pretty much play everywhere.
5. Orlando Cabrera: Played OK in Cleveland before the Indians decided to go young with prospect Jason Kipnis. So he was traded to the Giants, and hit .222 with a homer in 39 games as San Francisco faded. At 37, he's nearing the end, but could be useful in a utility role. He's a career .272 hitter.
Next five: Jerry Hairston Jr., Jamey Carroll, Ramon Santiago, Mark Ellis, Adam Kennedy.
Others: Clint Barmes is on the shortstops list, but just as easily could be listed here, as he's bounced between positions.
Ages are as of Opening Day 2012.
Free agent second basemen
|Name||Age||2011 team||2011 stats||2012 team||Contract|
|Willie Bloomquist||34||D'backs||.266, 4 HR, 26 RBI||D'backs||2 yrs, $3.8M|
|Orlando Cabrera||37||Giants||.238, 5 HR, 51 RBI||Retired|
|Jamey Carroll||38||Dodgers||.290, 0 HR, 17 RBI||Twins||2 yrs, $6.75M|
|Luis Castillo||36||Mets||.235, 0 HR, 17 RBI||not signed|
|Alex Cora||36||Nationals||.224, 0 HR, 6 RBI||Cardinals||minors|
|Craig Counsell||41||Brewers||.178, 1 HR, 9 RBI||Retired|
|Mark Ellis||34||Rockies||.248, 7 HR, 41 RBI||Dodgers||2 yrs, $8.75M|
|Carlos Guillen||36||Tigers||.265, 3 HR, 13 RBI||Mariners||minors|
|Jerry Hairston Jr.||35||Brewers||.270, 5 HR, 31 RBI||Dodgers||2 yrs, $6M|
|Aaron Hill||30||D'backs||.246, 8 HR, 61 RBI||D'backs||2 yrs, $11M|
|Joe Inglett||33||Astros||.222, 0 HR, 1 RBI||not signed|
|Kelly Johnson||30||Blue Jays||.222, 21 HR, 58 RBI||Blue Jays||arbitration|
|Adam Kennedy||36||Mariners||.234, 7 HR, 38 RBI||Dodgers||1 yr, $800,000|
|Felipe Lopez||31||Brewers||.206, 2 HR, 11 RBI||not signed|
|Jose Lopez||28||Marlins||.216, 8 HR, 21 RBI||Indians||minors|
|Aaron Miles||35||Dodgers||.275, 3 HR, 45 RBI||not signed|
|Nick Punto||34||Cardinals||.278, 1 HR, 20 RBI||Red Sox||2 yrs, $3.5M|
|Ramon Santiago||32||Tigers||.260, 5 HR, 30 RBI||Tigers||2 yrs, $4M|