Omar Infante was officially introduced by the Royals yesterday in a news conference, and all seems quite on the rumor front for the most part. How long will it stay that way? Let’s take a look.
BILLY BUTLER NOT ON THE BLOCK
With the Royals upgrades at second base and right field, coupled with the signing of Jason Vargas, Dayton Moore seems satisfied with what he has right now. This includes the idea of keeping Billy Butler in Kansas City for 2014, according to Ken Rosenthal.
Butler, 27, would have stood a better chance of getting traded if the Royals had signed Carlos Beltran instead of Infante. In theory, the Royals still could move Butler and take a run at Nelson Cruz, but they already have invested a combined $62.25 million in Vargas and Infante.
“Billy has been a big part of our team and one of the better right-handed hitters in the game,” Moore said. “He’s still young. I think he’s going to have a terrific year.”
Rosenthal also points out that the Royals don’t have any plans to move any more of their bullpen pieces via a trade. That likely means a Jeff Samardzija trade is not on the horizon.
ERVIN SANTANA COMING BACK?
Moore hasn’t ruled out the possibility of adding another pitcher if the price makes sense to the team. That pitcher? Ervin Santana. Santana is currently bogged down with the other top pitchers in the market as teams wait to hear if Masahiro Tanaka is going to be posted by his Japanese team. If he is, that would make the suitors for Santana at least one team fewer. Santana also has a draft pick attached to him which makes him less appealing to some compared to Matt Garza who does not have a draft pick assigned to him.
If the right storm brews, the cost for Santana may drop into the range the Royals are okay with playing. Rosenthal thinks that’s what the Royals are hoping for right now.
If anything, the Royals would love a shot at re-signing free agent Ervin Santana should the right-hander’s market somehow collapse.
OMAR INFANTE CONTRACT BREAKDOWN
The release of Omar Infante’s contract breakdown took a little while to see the light of day, but the findings were very interesting. Monday we learned Infante’s contract would contain a fifth-year team option and that the total guaranteed money was $30.25 million. Tuesday we found out the breakdown.
Infante deal: $5M in ’14 then $7.5M, $7.75M and $8M. $10M option for ’18 with $2M buyout. #royals
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 18, 2013
Spending only $5 million this season gives the Royals a little bit of flexibility when it comes to adding another player – whether player is Santana or a player the Royals think they need at the trading deadline in July.
The team option for Infante’s 36-year-old season seems odd, but it may just be for accounting purposes. The $2 million buyout gets the total value to $30.25 million and gives the Royals the opportunity to pick up another year of Infante if for some reason Kansas City needs or wants to – though that seems like a long-shot right now. It also helps defer some of the money away from 2014 which gives the Royals some flexibility.