Sorry for the pun. The question is whether the M's should trade Bret Boone or keep him, thereby activating his $9M option for next year. Using Baseball Prospectus' Statistics by position, we can compare Boone to other second-basemen. David at U.S.S. Mariner thinks Boone won't be worth the $9M. Depending on what metric you want to trust, Boone is either the 21st, 33rd, 35th, or 60th best second baseman, out of 70 listed, in the majors. Or if we keep only the 2Bs with the most at-bats from each team (what appears to be their "starters"), Boone is 21st or 25th out of 30. That's not great.
But who could we get that would be a better value for playing second base? And let's think long-term. Aging though he may be, Boone had the highest VORP of any AL second-baseman in 2003; who is this year's Bret Boone circa 2003? (In other words, who's having a hot year but won't next year?) We're looking for a free-agent second baseman who's not just coming off a career year (Cleveland's Ron Belliard?)
Not knowing which second-sackers are going to be on the market next year, I really can't tell who's available, which is an essential part of the question I'm asking. Still, I'm not sure there are that many options for the M's. Alex Cora? D'Angelo Jimenez? Maybe Mark Bellhorn? The other option may be to move Leone to second. But that leaves us with Spiezio and Leone starting, and I'm not sure those two will sustain enough offense even if we get a couple of mashers in the off-season.
There are a lot of good 2B'ers out there, but a lot of them won't be free agents very soon. Alfonso Soriano,
Mostly, I'd like to see someone suggest who would play second next year, because who is available to replace Boone is an important consideration in whether we want to keep him.