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Thanks to early signings, infield market clearing up

Dec 4, 2009, 7:44 PM EDT

Everything else is moving as slowly as anticipated, but the non-first base portion of the infield market has been extremely active in the early part of the winter, and now that Chone Figgins (apparently), Marco Scutaro and Placido Polanco have all agreed to terms, the picture for Orlando Hudson, Adrian Beltre and others is coming into sharper focus.
First, let’s look at the teams still hunting for new regulars:
2B: Dodgers, Cubs, Mets, D-backs, Twins, Marlins, Astros, Rays, Mariners, Rockies, Indians
3B: Orioles, Twins, Giants, Cardinals, Astros, Angels, Red Sox, Marlins, White Sox, A’s
SS: Tigers, Nationals, Reds, A’s, Pirates
The teams in italics are more the clubs that will consider changes if a situation changes or if someone falls into their laps.
And still left in free agency:
2B: Orlando Hudson, Felipe Lopez, Kelly Johnson*, Adam Kennedy, Juan Uribe, Jamey Carroll, Ronnie Belliard
3B: Adrian Beltre, Mark DeRosa, Garrett Atkins*, Joe Crede, Pedro Feliz, Troy Glaus, Melvin Mora
SS: Miguel Tejada, Orlando Cabrera, Khalil Greene, Adam Everett, Craig Counsell, Bobby Crosby
Johnson and Atkins both figure to be non-tendered later this month.
So, let’s find some potential matches:
Hudson – We know he isn’t returning to the Dodgers. A move to New York and the Mets makes a ton of sense if the club can find a way to shed a portion of Luis Castillo’s contract first. If the Mets opt to stay away, then the Cubs might be able to land his services at a modest bargain.
Lopez – He seems like the best fit for the Dodgers at this point. A two-year deal worth $10 million-$12 million would be reasonable.
Beltre – Beltre is now clearly the No. 1 third baseman on the market, but unless the Giants step up, he’s probably not going to get the kind of deal he wants. I still think the Red Sox would love to have him if they could get the Twins or someone to eat half of the $12 million that Mike Lowell is owed.
DeRosa – The Twins could use his right-handed power, and he’s likely to be more affordable than Beltre.
Atkins – Baltimore is a good fit. The Orioles will jwant a one-year option with Josh Bell on the way, and Atkins will be looking for a situation in which he can rebuild his value.
Tejada – Given that the teams still in the hunt for shortstops are going to be bargain hunters, it seems nearly certain that Tejada will end up at third base, maybe with the Cardinals.
Cabrera – Cabrera might also shift over, though he’d be going to second. He’ll probably have to wait for Hudson and Lopez before he finds himself in demand.

  1. Bob R. - Dec 5, 2009 at 6:37 AM

    I am not sure why you have the Rays listed as a team that might be looking for a second baseman “if a situation changes or if someone falls into their laps.” Naturally, any team would be happy to upgrade under those circumstances, but what is there about the Rays’ situation that makes them interested in actively seeking out such a circumstance?
    As I understand it, one reason they traded Iwamura is that the incumbent is Zobrist. And should Zobrist falter or be moved to RF, Sean Rodriguez is there and after him Aybar (who many felt should have been first in line before 2009). And even Brignac is a possibility. It is not a question of your evaluating the worth of those players, but is there some reason you think the Rays have soured on any, particularly on Zobrist or Rodriguez?
    Given the apparent options, and given the Rays’ priorities (catching, relievers probably), I don’t see the Rays in the market unless magically someone like Utley becomes available for $2 million/yr for multiple years, an improbable circumstance not worth considering.

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