Free Agent Second Base Options
By Beau Eastes
Could the Royals sign a veteran second baseman for 2017? Are there better options out there than Merrifield or Mondesi?
Kansas City’s offensive production out of second base last year was ugly. As we mentioned before, Royals second basemen combined for just 1.5 Wins Above Replacement.
But is there a better free agent out there than potential starters Whit Merrifield or Raul Mondesi? (Can anyone really see Christian Colon getting another shot at second? Yeah, me neither.)
Let’s take a look at the middle infielders on the market that could be targeted by the Royals. Warning, it’s not pretty:
2016 numbers: .252 BA/.319 OBP/.716 OPS with the Dodgers
It’s telling that we’re starting off with Utley, who will be 38 when spring training starts. Once one of the best second baseman in Major League Baseball, Utley has been little better than a replacement player the last two seasons with the Dodgers. The left-handed hitter did score 79 runs for Los Angeles in 2016 and by all accounts provided much-needed leadership in the Dodgers clubhouse. Utley’s biggest selling point is at this point in his career he’s only looking for a one- or two-year deal.
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2016 numbers: .270 BA/.349 OBP/.859 OPS with the Pirates
Best known for his Ivan Drago impersonation on a water cooler in 2015, the right-handed hitting Rodriguez had a breakout year this past season, posting career highs in average (.270), home runs (18) and RBIs (56) in 300 at-bats. More of a poor, poor man’s Ben Zobrist, the 31-year-old Rodriguez played more than 25 games in the outfield, at first base, second base and shortstop in 2016.
2016 numbers: .266 BA/.339 OBP/.864 OPS with the Nationals
The former first-round draft pick has played for five teams the past five years with left-handed hitting middle infielders never going out of vogue. Drew, who turns 34 in March, had a nice bounce-back season in 2016 – albeit in only 70 games – after hitting just .201 for the Yankees in 2015.
2016 numbers: .264 BA/.349 OBP/.773 OPS with the Rockies
The youngest player on this list, the 29-year-old Descalso put up career numbers last year in Colorado, posting single-season highs in average (.264), on-base percentage (.349), slugging percentage (.424) and OPS (.773). The question, of course, is how much of that was altitude inflated?