Free Agent Predictions: 2B/SS, 3B

Furcal is the premier infielder on the market (AP)

Without any interest at all, Seattle can sit back and let the infield market pass them by.

Top 7 Second Base/Shortstop
NO. PLAYER TEAM CONTRACT M's Factor
1 Rafael Furcal Chicago (NL) 5/$46m 0%
2 Nomar Garciaparra Los Angeles 1/$5m 0%
3 Alex Gonzalez Texas 3/$17m 0%
4 Jose Valentin San Diego 1/$3m+ 0%
5 Rich Aurilia St. Louis 1+/$2.5m+ 0%
6 Alex S. Gonzalez Atlanta 1/$2m+ 0%
7 Deivi Cruz Washington 1/$2m+ 0%
Top 5 Third Baseman
NO. PLAYER TEAM CONTRACT M's Factor
1 Bill Mueller Minnesota 2/$10m+ 0%
2 Joe Randa Boston 2/$10 0%
3 Abraham Nunez Los Angeles 1/$2m 0%
4 Jose Hernandez Florida 1/$1.5m 0%
5 Jeff Cirillo Toronto 1/$1m 0%

It's a good thing for the Mariners that they have viable options up the middle with Jose Lopez and Yuniesky Betancourt, because the free agent market is bare.

Furcal will get big bucks, inexplicably so, but at least three clubs are known to be willing to pay him around $10 mil per season for four years or more. But one of them is not Atlanta.

The Mets could ink Furcal and play him at second base, but Furcal's value, and comfort level is much higher in Chicago where he can stay at shortstop and play along side good friend Niefi Perez.

Nomar Garciaparra is likely to ink another one-year deal to show he can stay healthy - something he hasn't done since the M's were a good team.

He may agree to play third base for a team in Southern California, near his native land, but it's a bit premature to expect him to agree to move to left field at this point. Any team that guarantees him more than one year is crazy, but they'd also probably win his services.

Texas is probably going to trade Alfonso Soriano, and unless they receive a middle infielder in return, could be in the market for a shortstop, in order to slide Michael Young back to his natural second base, where he is a gold glove caliber defender.

Aurilia, Randa and Mueller will interest both Boston and Minnesota, as will the latter pair interest Toronto.

Valentin can still play some shortstop and could be a stop-gap for Texas, Washington, or back to Los Angeles while the Didgers await toe return of Cesar Izturis.
Up Next: First Base, DH and Catchers, Friday, November 11.

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