Let's kick off the week by checking out the potential free agent second basemen out there this winter. It's a pretty thin crop.
Expectations were low when the Dodgers traded Mark Grudzielanek to the Cubs in the winter of 2002. But since then, Grudzielanek has hit .304 while playing solid defense at 2B. While the fielding is a plus, a lot of his value is tied to that .300 batting average. At age 35, it could start to slip soon. It'll probably take a multiyear deal to keep Grudzielanek around. The Cardinals will probably bring him back; otherwise he'll head to Minnesota. I'd steer clear in 2006.
Now that Craig Biggio is off the market, there's really not much left at second base. Every team must realize by now that Bret Boone is toast.
The one dark horse on the market is Tony Graffanino. His costly ALDS error might drive his price down a bit, but Graffanino was excellent this year. He's younger than Grudzielanek and not terrible with the glove. Plus, he hit righties and lefties equally well this year. Boston will probably bring him back if he keeps his price tag under $2 million per. Otherwise, you might see the underrated second baseman slink back to a lousy team like Kansas City or Pittsburgh.
If the Cubs are foolish enough to decline Todd Walker's option, he'll immediately become the top second baseman on the market. Otherwise, teams may look to the trade market to fill the position. Alfonso Soriano will be at the top of the shopping list. With a .309 OBP this year, Soriano is a player who brings much more value to a fantasy baseball team than a real one. With a $10 million salary on the horizon, a big market team like the Mets could make a move.
Looking for the full dish on 2006 MLB free agents? Check out the RotoAuthority.com free agent article index.
Tim Dierkes posts daily updates to his fantasy baseball blog as The Roto Authority. Check out the site at:
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