Jeff Kent is to officially announce his retirement now, ending speculation about where he will sign. The 40-year-old Kent has played 17 seasons for the Blue Jays, Mets, Indians, Giants, Astros, and Dodgers.
Over his long career he has amassed 377 HR, 2461 hits, 1518 RBI, and a 123+ OPS. The only cons are average defense and a not-so-impressive defensive resume. However, Kent should be a future HOFer.
Kent, compared to current HOFers at second base, has the most HRs, the third most RBI, and is among the leaders in several other categories, including slugging percentage (second).
Compared to fellow second baseman and future Hall of Famer Craig Biggio, Kent matches up decently. While his speed and defense were not at Biggio's level, his OBP and batting average match up almost equally. In addition, his slugging percentage and OPS are higher.
While he did not last as long as Biggio, he put up better offensive stats.
Top Five OPS
Biggio: 143, 141, 139, 138, 130
Kent: 162, 147, 142, 133, 131
Kent had a higher and stronger peak, and was a strong hitter all around. While his fielding was not good, it was decent enough to keep him at second base his whole career.
A popular argument against Kent is that he played on the same team as Barry Bonds. Many think that Kent batted before Bonds. Kent actually batted behind Bonds. While Bonds got on base a lot, this does not mean the RBI numbers are flukes.
You have to have the capability to hit the ball to drive in a run. Being on the same team means nothing—Bonds' stats are not Kent's stats. Also, the Giants' home field was and still is a pitchers' park.
Hate him or like him, Kent was a strong player, and his off-field actions change nothing about that. Kent is easily in the middle of the Hall of Fame second basemen pack, and deserves his spot when the time comes.