Free-agent duo could be second to none
Hudson, Uribe quality options at keystone for teams in need
Orlando Hudson and Juan Uribe certainly know something about changing uniforms.
Hudson and Uribe are on the free-agent market and could be viable options for teams that are seeking second basemen for the 2011 season.
Hudson, who earned $5 million last season with the Twins, has played for four teams in his career.
Uribe, who might be an option for a team looking for help at third base and shortstop as well as second base, has played for three teams.
Hudson is a career .280 hitter who faded offensively in September (.194) though he still continued to play good defense as evidenced by his 9.8 Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR).
They won't likely come close to the bounty Chone Figgins landed a year ago as a free agent, when he signed with Seattle for four years and $36 million, though they still figure to fare well wherever they land.
Non-tender possibilities -- such as Ryan Theriot, Clint Barmes, Mike Fontenot and Jose Lopez -- could join the mix later this offseason.
One of the potential top second-base options, Oakland's Mark Ellis, would have been available had the A's not picked up his $6 million club option on Wednesday.
Looking to buy: Without Hudson, the Twins might add a second baseman if they don't believe Alexi Casilla can handle the job. The Dodgers might also seek help here, especially if they non-tender Theriot. The Padres probably won't re-sign David Eckstein, so they'll need to add someone. The Cardinals could add a second baseman, preferably someone who can hit at the top of the order. Might Eckstein, who won a World Series ring with St. Louis in 2006, resurface in St. Louis?
Top dogs: Hudson is at the top of the group, though All-Star Omar Infante of the Braves would have easily trumped him if he didn't have an affordable $2.5 million option that Atlanta picked up this week.
Best of the rest: Uribe played most of 2010 at shortstop but could be a fit at second base given his pedigree at the position. Lopez broke into the Major Leagues as a second baseman, though he played third base a year ago with Seattle. Lopez had a better season in 2010 defensively at third base than he ever did at second base. Bill Hall hit 18 home runs playing everywhere for the Red Sox, including 51 games at second base.
Worth a shot? Eckstein remains a sure-handed defensive player and a solid clubhouse guy who can still be a productive hitter. He will find a home somewhere. The same goes for Jerry Hairston Jr., who might fit better as a utilityman type, although he had a nice season for the Padres at second base and shortstop. Adam Kennedy struggled in his only season with the Nationals. Cristian Guzman and Felipe Lopez could get looks, as could Willie Bloomquist, Ronnie Belliard, Julio Lugo, Craig Counsell and Akinori Iwamura.
Potential 2012 class: It could well be a banner offseason for second basemen next winter. Aaron Hill of the Blue Jays has an $8 million club option. The D-backs' Kelly Johnson could be on the market and so could Brandon Phillips if the Reds decide to pass on his $12 million club option. Rickie Weeks, Dan Uggla and Freddy Sanchez can also be free agents, though the Marlins would like to work out a deal with Uggla this winter.