Over the last three seasons, free-agent second baseman Jeff Kent has hit .315 and averaged 31 homers and 113 RBI while manning second base in a pitchers' park. Yet Kent has found the list of bidders for his services rather sparse this winter.
Sunday Kent turned down a three-year deal from the Giants because the money wasn't enough, and his future is now unclear. The Giants have signed two other second basemen, Ray Durham and Edgardo Alfonzo, effectively ending Kent's six-year tenure in San Francisco. No other team has mounted a public effort to acquire the 2000 National League MVP.
Several factors are likely contributing to the low interest level in Kent, including worries about how well he'd hit without Barry Bonds and his questionable value in the clubhouse. But Kent's age may be the primary reason teams have been reluctant to offer him a long-term deal. Kent will turn 35 in March; he's four months older than Chuck Knoblauch and only a month younger than Roberto Alomar. Unlike those two second basemen, however, Kent has shown no signs of slowing down.