Free Agent Focus: Second Base
Is there a Mets fan alive who wants to see Luis Castillo at second base on Opening Day 2011?
Unfortunately, it will take a minor miracle by Sandy Alderson to move him this winter — without swallowing some or all of the $6M left on his contract.
But let’s pretend Castillo is out of the picture, and the Mets are looking at the free-agent market to take his place. In such a case what are the Mets’ options?
It doesn’t look good. We described the catching free-agent pool as “slim pickings”, but this pool is even slimmer. Here are the top second basemen available right now:
1. Orlando Hudson
2. Adam Kennedy
3. David Eckstein
4. Cristian Guzman
5. Aaron Miles
6. Julio Lugo
That’s it. Anytime David Eckstein finishes in the top three of anything, you know you’re in trouble.
That’s not to say I don’t like David Eckstein — I thoroughly enjoy watching him play and would welcome his arrival in Flushing. But if he’s the third-best second-sacker available? Well … yikes.
I suppose you could expand the above by adding natural shortstops Miguel Tejada, Craig Counsell, Edgar Renteria, and Orlando Cabrera, but none of those players are guaranteed to perform well on the other side of the bag and their additions to don’t make the pool significantly more palatable.
Assuming the Mets can move Castillo and don’t get a second baseman in return, the free agent market does not seem to be the place the Mets will find the man to play 2B in 2010. As much as we have perennially enjoyed talking about Orlando Hudson this time of year, now is not the time — neither for Hudson nor the Mets; that ship sailed two years ago. Kennedy wouldn’t be a terrible option if he could be had on a very cheap (read: under $1M) deal, but that doesn’t seem plausible. Same goes for Eckstein, who, like Hudson, has been rumored to be coveted by the Mets in the past. Cabrera, Renteria, or Tejada will probably be too expensive and are more suited to a potential playoff-contending team seeking a final piece, rather than a club centered on rebuilding.
In the end, I hope the Mets can find a taker for Castillo and make second base an open audition for Justin Turner, Daniel Murphy, and Reese Havens.