With the offseason drawing nearer, MLBTR will be breaking down the free-agent class on a position-by-position basis. MLBTR’s Anthony Franco already profiled this winter’s crop of catchers and first basemen. You can check out the full list of this offseason’s free agents here, but today we’ll take a deeper look at the options for teams in need of help at second base next. It’s worth noting that there are star shortstops (e.g.  Xander Bogaerts, Trea Turner) who could technically be pursued as a second base option for a team that already has an entrenched shortstop, but we’ll save that group for the shortstop preview.

 

Top of the Class

Jean Segura (33 years old next season)

The Phillies hold a $17MM club option on Segura, so he could technically go in the “Club Options” section later in this preview. However, even though Segura is a good player who’s had a solid season, it’s likelier that the Phils pay the option’s $1MM buyout than pick up that hefty salary. Segura has ample experience at shortstop and has played some third base as well, but he’s been a strict second baseman in Philly recently and other teams likely view him similarly. The open market hasn’t been kind to non-star, second-base-only players like Segura in recent years, even when they’re coming off respectable seasons.

That’s absolutely the case here, as Segura has slashed .273/.335/.393 — good for a 106 wRC+ (suggesting he’s been six percent better than the league-average hitter). Segura is a tough strikeout but doesn’t walk much and has slowly seen his power dwindle to below-average levels. He generally has solid but unspectacular grades for his glovework at second base. He’ll be 33 next spring.

At his best, Segura does a little bit of everything — hitting for power, hitting for average, swiping some bases, playing solid defense — but doesn’t necessarily excel in any one area. It’d be a surprise if he got more than two years in free agency, and there are free-agent second basemen with higher ceilings but far less recent track record. If you want the safest bet to be a solid regular at the position, Segura is the guy.

 

Brandon Drury (30)

As is often the case, we’re looking at a pretty thin crop of established second basemen on the market this year’s market. That’s good news for Drury, who parlayed a minor league deal with the Reds into a standout free-agent platform. Drury hit .274/.335/.520 and clubbed 21 home runs with the Reds before a deadline trade shipped him to San Diego. He hasn’t been nearly as good with the Friars (.227/.270/.454) but is still hitting for power. On the whole, Drury has a .261/.317/.501 slash this season — about 23% better than the average hitter by measure of wRC+.

Defensively, Drury embodies the “jack of all trades, master of none” trope, but second base has historically been his best position. He’s drawn average marks there throughout his career and again in 2022. The 30-year-old righty has feasted on left-handed pitching but mostly just held his own against right-handers. Drury hit well in a tiny sample of 88 plate appearances with the 2021 Mets but was a non-factor with the Yankees and Blue Jays from 2018-20, batting a combined .205/.254/.346 in the rough equivalent of a full season of playing time (167 games, 582 plate appearances).

Drury will get a big league deal this winter. The questions are whether his Cincinnati contributions are overshadowed by his San Diego struggles, whether he’ll get a look as a utility option or as a player at one primary position, and whether there’s enough interest to generate a multi-year offer.