Could Omar Infante be a potential target for the Blue Jays? Earlier today Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Royals were making their second baseman available in trade. In the interests of full disclosure, I should point out that there has been no word indicating that the Jays are even looking at dealing for Infante. That being said, Alex Anthopolous is always quick to point out that they inquire on just about everybody, so it makes sense that Infante would at least be on AA’s radar.
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The question is, would this be a move that makes sense for the Blue Jays? Offensively he’s not bad. His career slash of .275/.316/.395 is not the worst thing I’ve ever seen. If you look beyond the slash line, however, you see a player who is wildly inconsistent at the dish from year to year. Over the past 5 years he’s sported OPS+ of 111, 90, 91, 115, and 76. That a bit up and down for my liking, but a full year at Rogers Centre would certainly give those numbers a boost. It has been noted many times this offseason that the Jays don’t need an offensive powerhouse at second, as long as the whoever is playing there can field the position competently.
So, how is he on the defensive side? Well, he has some versatility for sure. Over his career he’s seen significant playing time at 2B, SS and 3B plus a smattering of appearances in the outfield. At second, which is where the Jays would want him, he’s been slightly above average overall posting a career FRAA of 19 and a DRS of 3. His defensive numbers seem to be slipping with age though, as he posted an FRAA of -12 with the Royals in 2014. As the years go by those numbers will likely get worse, plus there is always the turf factor to consider.
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On the financial side of things, Infante would not come cheaply, he’s currently in the middle (and when I say middle I really mean the beginning) of a 4 year contract with a team option on a fifth year. He’s slated to make $7.75 million in 2015, and he won’t hit free agency again till at least 2018. This causes a couple of issues. First, if the Jays are in fact sold on Devon Travis as their second baseman of the future, then taking on this contract doesn’t make a lot of sense. Second, from a monetary standpoint thats a lot of scratch to devote to a middle infielder on the wrong side of 30, not to mention the prospects that KC is sure to ask for just to get him in the first place.
I see Infante as very similar to Maicer Izturis when the Jays picked him up a couple of offseasons ago, a solid, but ageing middle infielder, who is coming off a down year. For me, I don’t think Infante makes a lot of sense for the Jays. I think the price would be too high in both dollars and prospects, and if they want a player like that, then they may as well just go with Izturis for a year until Travis is ready. If I’m AA, I’d take a pass and focus on my bullpen, but that’s just me. I’m sure there’s someone out there who disagrees with me. Let me know what you think.