5 second basemen who could be traded soon
While second base hasn't dominated the rumor mill like some other spots on the diamond over the past month, the keystone has a number of productive options for contenders looking to shore up the position.
Chances are, multiple second basemen will be moved before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, especially if Dustin Pedroia's balky leff knee continues to be a problem for the Red Sox. Let's run through some of the top available names and the latest buzz.
• Non-waiver Trade Deadline explained
Scooter Gennett, Reds
It wasn't long ago that Gennett was waived by the Brewers, who, by the way, may now be in the market for a second baseman.
When he was claimed by the Reds on March 28, 2017, Gennett owned .279/.318/.420 lifetime splits with 35 homers over four seasons. Against lefties? Gennett had just two career homers with a .490 OPS.
Now, Gennett may cost more in a trade than any second baseman on the market. As a member of the Reds, Gennett has slashed .310/.354/.530 with 41 homers in 224 games. And while he still does his best work vs. righties, his numbers vs. southpaws (eight homers, .790 OPS with Cincinnati) are much improved.
Given the 28-year-old can become a free agent after next season, the Reds could look to deal him at peak value. MLB.com's Jim Duquette predicted destinations for Gennett and nine other trade candidates this week.
James Dozier, Twins
As MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported Tuesday, the Twins are positioned to be active Trade Deadline sellers, with impending free agents Dozier, Eduardo Escobar and Lance Lynn at the top of the list of players they want to move.
The problem? Dozier is having a down season, hitting .220 with a .702 OPS. Granted, the veteran is known for his second-half surges. But his current OPS would be his lowest first-half mark since 2013 (.696), his second season in the Majors.
The Twins will need to find a team that believes Dozier can recapture his form from 2016-17, a span in which he hit .269/.349/.522 with 76 homers. Per Morosi, Dozier may be a potential fit with the Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals, Indians, Red Sox and Brewers.
DJ LeMahieu, Rockies
The Rockies are a team on the bubble, as they entered Thursday in fourth place in the National League West but only four games behind the first-place D-backs and just 4 1/2 out in the race for the second NL Wild Card spot.
Still, it's difficult to imagine them staying in the hunt given their pitching woes. Ultimately, the club will likely look to deal players who can become free agents after this season. That includes LeMahieu, one of the dark-horse trade candidates MLB.com's Mike Petriello looked at Thursday.
LeMahieu has posted a .682 OPS on the road during his career, compared to an .831 mark at home, so it's unclear how he's valued by opposing clubs. But as Petriello notes, a good defensive second baseman with above-average contact skills could be attractive to teams such as the Brewers, Indians, Dodgers, Red Sox and D-backs.
LeMahieu has been consistently linked to Boston, which has had to rely on Eduardo Nunez (-12 defensive runs saved at second, .662 OPS) as its primary second baseman this season with Pedroia missing almost the entire year.
Jed Lowrie, A's
Lowrie, another player on Petriello's list of dark-horse trade candidates, is in a situation similar to that of LeMahieu.
While the A's are a surprising 48-39 this season, they're in third place in the AL West -- 8 1/2 games behind the division-leading Astros -- and seven games out in the Wild Card race.
Lowrie, who also can become a free agent after this season, quietly has been one of the most productive keystone men in baseball over the past two years, recording an overall .282/.359/.467 slash line despite playing home games at pitcher-friendly Oakland Coliseum.
The market for LeMahieu and Lowrie will likely be similar, though Lowrie may have more trade value given he has proven to be more productive in recent years and is a switch-hitter with more versatility on defense.
Josh Harrison, Pirates
Harrison has lost significant value since the offseason, when he was reportedly shopped by the Pirates. While part of the problem is the glut of infielders available, Harrison also has been far less productive in 2018 than he was a year ago, when he made the NL All-Star team.
After recording 16 homers and a .771 OPS last season, Harrison has just four home runs with a .644 OPS this year, though he did miss more than a month with a fractured left hand.
Moreover, one of the teams that pursued Harrison this past offseason, the Mets, is now a seller, so Pittsburgh may have trouble finding a taker for the free-agent-to-be.