The Kansas City Royals may be on the brink of having a new starting second baseman before the end of the Winter Meetings in Florida. A tweet from young baseball sleuth Chris Cotillo that former Detroit Tigers second baseman Omar Infante may be close to a decision and that decision may be to sign with the Royals.
The tweet in question:
Hearing Infante may be close to a decision. #Royals looking like serious possibility, may even be favorite.
— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) December 11, 2013
Things are moving fast on Infante. Joel wrote last night the Royals could be interested in Infante. Here’s a quick snip of what he wrote.
The Royals would be better off going after Howie Kendrick, or maybe Daniel Murphy, or even Brandon Phillips. All of these options would be better than paying someone of Infante’s offensive skills $8 million a year for more than one season.
Since then it would appear Infante has narrowed is his list down and is about ready to choose a team. KC appears to be the leader for his services.
Infante was pretty solid for the Tigers the last few years when he was healthy. Last season he batted .318/.345/.450 with 10 home runs and 51 runs batted in. The kicker here is that Infante has been a pretty solid second baseman defensively, which, when paired with his average bat, makes him pretty valuable. He’s totaled 8.1 fWAR the last three years.
The problem here is age and cost. Infante will turn 32-years-old the day after Christmas, and is looking for a multi-year deal of around $8 million. The New York Yankees are also said to be going after Infante, which may cause the price to move up. If the deal is for one or two years, no matter what the dollar figure is (within reason), this may be a solid move for the Royals. But if the Royals go three years or more and give him $8 million or more during that span then Kansas City may find themselves with a bit of a financial handcuff at second base when trying to make deals in the future.
On the other side of this, Kansas City’s lineup would look much better from a year ago:
Projected lineup with 2013 OBP:
1. Nori Aoki, .356
2. Infante, .344
3. Billy Butler, .374
4. Eric Hosmer, .353
5. Alex Gordon, .327
6. Salvador Perez, .323
7. Mike Moustakas, .287
8. Lorenzo Cain, .310
9. Alcides Escobar, .259