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Hot Stove Pre-Heat: LeMahieu, Wong, and Kiké Hit the Second Base Free Agent Market

The Second Base Free Agent market has a lot to offer, it just depends on who is offering. How many free agents return to their old teams?

Kiké Hernandez by Ian D’Andrea is licensed under CC BY SA-2.0

Hot Stove Pre-Heat: LeMahieu, Wong, and Kiké Hit the Second Base Free Agent Market


Estimated Reading Time: 7 Minutes

Every year, MLB goes through its offseason, pretty much like every other sport. The NBA Offseason is about what Super Teams will be formed, the NFL offseason tends to swirl around the new blood entering the league. But Major League Baseball’s offseason takes a while to get going. One of my favorite baseball terms is “Hot Stove.” You’ll hear a lot of baseball fans talking about “Hot Stove Season” and how it’s starting to heat up.

The term “Hot Stove” comes from the idea of the “Hot Stove League,” the offseason gathering of fans around a hot stove during the winter, getting warm, and talking baseball. It doesn’t get any more Americana than that, y’all. Just sitting around a hot stove in the dead of winter, talking baseball. Doesn’t that sound lovely?

Well, this year we’re starting early. We’re preheating things early on so that when this stove gets hot, we’re already cooking. Today, let’s start by looking at some of the most interesting Second Base options on the Free Agent market.


Dee Strange-Gordon – Free Agent

Billy Hamilton 2.0, right here. Dee Gordon has had a strange downward spiral since his batting title win in Miami, and now finds himself looking for work after a few rough seasons in Seattle.

So what does Dee offer a team? Speed. Good glove. Flexible positioning. Mainly, Dee Gordon offers bench depth and speed on the basepaths. That’s it. He’s Dave Roberts in 2004, but he can play middle infield. Simple as that. And for a team looking to add some wheels to their roster, Strange-Gordon can be had for cheap.

Predicted Team: Chicago White Sox

Predicted Contract: 1 year, $3 Million Dollars.


César Hernández – Free Agent

The most slept on player in the MLB? César Hernández. Don’t believe me? Here’s what he did in 2020:

“Hernández ranked 7th in OBP, 14th in SLG, 10th in wRC+, and 3rd in WAR (1.9) among all qualified second basemen. Compared to the rest of the Indians’ lineup, Hernández ranked 2nd in runs (35), 1st in hits (66), first in doubles (20), second in AVG, 3rd in OBP, fourth in SLG, and 2nd in WAR.”LetsGoTribe.com

Hernández is absolutely consistent and he loves hitting doubles, leading the AL in two-bag hits in 2020. And he’s a perfect fit for a team looking for stability in the midst of chaos.

Should the Dodgers trade for Kris Bryant in a deal that sends Gavin Lux to Chicago, Hernández is a great option to replace him at second, (should LA not resign Kiké Hernandez). If the Red Sox feel that Jeter Downs isn’t ready for primetime yet, they can swoop in and snag Hernández. There’s even a possibility that the Yankees opt to sign him if they let LeMahieu walk.

Hernández is going to be found money for the team that picks him up. You can guarantee that.

Predicted Team: Unclear at the Moment, Possibly San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, or Boston Red Sox

Predicted Contract: 2 years, $15 Million Dollars.


Enrique “Kiké” Hernández – Free Agent

The Angels are a team that thrives on defensive flexibility that doesn’t upset the lineup. For example, pitching Shohei Ohtani and also allowing him to DH, David Fletcher moving around the infield, and even Albert Pujols trotting out to first base every now and then.

The Angels and their skipper Joe Maddon love that kind of versatility, which is why Kiké Hernández just makes sense.

If the Angels are going to lean into David Fletcher at short and aren’t completely satisfied with Luis Rengifo, then Kiké is the way to go. With his solid bat, known for getting loud in big situations, and his solid glove, he’s a perfect fit for an Angels team that is desperate to get Mike Trout a World Series appearance before he retires.

Predicted Team: Los Angeles Angels

Predicted Contract: 3 years, $27 Million Dollars.


Tommy La Stella – Free Agent

Tommy La Stella was traded by the Cubs in 2018 for a Player to be Named Later. La Stella had a turbulent relationship with the Cubs ever since he refused to report to their Triple-A franchise after being demoted in the middle of the 2016 season.

After two decent seasons, that saw him come back into the good graces of the Chicago clubhouse, La Stella joined the Angels, almost as an afterthought. I mean, when you get dealt for a player to be named later, it kinda feels like you’re being dealt for an IOU.

Must’ve been tough for the Cubs to see La Stella become an All-Star the following season.

La Stella fit into a fluid Angels infield that had to contend with Albert Pujols at first, David Fletcher playing wherever needed, and Andrelton Simmons putting on displays at short. Adding another infield utility player to the mix only enhanced the stability of change for the Angels.

That is until you sign Anthony Rendon, move Fletcher to short, bring up Luis Rengifo, and leave La Stella looking for his fit. So what do you do? Send him to Oakland for Franklin Barreto.

Oakland is a perfect place for La Stella, who hit .289 for the A’s in his 27 games with the club in 2020. With a team that lives for flexible infielders like Jed Lowrie, Chad Pinder, and a team that’s about to lose Marcus Semien to free agency, La Stella is an answer to some questions.

Oakland’s a perfect match.

Predicted Team: Oakland Athletics

Predicted Contract: 2 years, $14 Million Dollars.


Kolten Wong – Free Agent

If the Cardinals are trying to get Kolten Wong to sign a longer term deal, and that’s why they’ll decline his option for 2021, I’ll be very surprised. Wong is a very good second base option, in a market where teams are making deals based on what’s available. What does that mean? I’ll explain.

Wong can be valuable to a multitude of different teams. The Red Sox seem interested as Jeter Downs gets his bearings. The Blue Jays might need a veteran presence to round out their youthful infield. And even the Yankees might be in the market for a mid-level second baseman.

However, it’s the Cardinals division rivals who seem the best positioned to snag Wong’s services.

After rolling with Jason Kipnis at second, and Nico Hoerner ranging the diamond, the Cubs could use a regular face up the middle with Javy Baez. David Ross is very familiar with Wong and his play, having faced off against him for a large portion of his playing career. Wong just makes sense as a Cub, especially after the Cardinals opted to let him walk.

Predicted Team: Chicago Cubs

Predicted Contract: 2 year, $22 Million Dollars.


DJ LeMahieu – Free Agent

The Yankees have a tough decision to make: re-sign LeMahieu or completely change course over the offseason.

Re-signing LeMahieu, who has now had two consecutive Top-4 finishes in the AL MVP race, would make life a lot easier for the Yankees next season. Should they choose to keep their infield intact, they can focus on growing their pitching staff, while keeping their offense the same. The Yankees have starting pitching problems, and they can be solved this offseason. Instead of shifting your offense around, focus on that.

Failing to re-sign LeMahieu would more than likely leave the door open for Gleyber Torres to move to second base. That’d allow the Yankees to sign a shortstop like Andrelton Simmons for a year or so. That move doesn’t make the Yankees better, it simply moves them further away from where they were at the end of this season.

Not to mention that LeMahieu’s suitors seem to be in direct contention for the same postseason spot as the Yankees. This feels like a must for the Yankees.

Predicted Team: New York Yankees

Predicted Contract: 4 years, $70 Million Dollars.


Think we missed the boat? Skimmed over a key piece of the market? Let us know in the comments!

Justin Colombo is a 2017 Broadway Show Softball League All-Star at 3B/SS. He's essentially the Manny Machado of the Kinky Boots team. Justin has been writing about Baseball since he was a little kid. Now that being an actor in NYC has given him a lot of free time, in 2015 he decided to take his passion public and founded Three Up, Three Down as a way to express his love for the game. From there, Three Up, Three Down grew from a hobby to an obsession. After years of growth and one insult from MLB's Historian, Justin launched The Turf, a way to expand into all areas of the sporting world. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter. LET'S. GO. METS.

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