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Report: Royals agree to a deal with Omar Infante worth about $30 million over four years

Dec 13, 2013, 5:52 PM EDT

Omar Infante Getty Getty Images

ESPN’s Buster Olney is reporting that the Royals and Omar Infante have agreed to a contract in which the free agent infielder will earn approximately $30 million over four years. Infante solves an obvious middle infield need for the Royals, who are loading up for a run at the AL Central in 2014.

Infante, who turns 32 years old on December 26, had drawn considerable interest from the Yankees as a potential replacement for Robinson Cano. He posted a career-high .795 OPS as a full-time second baseman with the Tigers last season. Olney suggests Infante will slot into the #2 spot in the Royals’ batting order behind Norichika Aoki.

Update: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports adds the specifics:

  1. 2dmo4 - Dec 13, 2013 at 6:00 PM

    As a Tiger fan, I hated to see him leave. Royals fans will like this guy. Solid player.

  2. giantboy99 - Dec 13, 2013 at 6:02 PM

    Brandon Phillips to Yanks

    • spudchukar - Dec 13, 2013 at 6:07 PM

      It does increase the likelihood. The Yanks would still like the Reds to eat some money, but that number probably shrinks with this deal. Not many other options for New York. Perhaps somebody like Brian Roberts, but his injury status, would make that a risky move to an already fragile infield, and almost insure another move for insurance.

      The Royals have certainly taken a step forward. The Indian lack action is puzzling.

      • spudchukar - Dec 13, 2013 at 6:12 PM

        Uh..lack of action…

      • paperlions - Dec 13, 2013 at 7:31 PM

        They could sign Drew for a year or 2 and use him as a SS/2B. They’ve already blown through all of their comp picks signing FAs, so it would only cost them a 2nd to do it. He’s likely to be a similar offensive and defensive player to Phillips, but with more value as a potential SS.

      • spudchukar - Dec 13, 2013 at 8:47 PM

        That is certainly a possibility and Boras in a bidding war between NY and Boston ought to be a hoot.

      • pastabelly - Dec 13, 2013 at 8:56 PM

        The Red Sox don’t need Drew. They’ll sign Drew on their terms or let someone else sign him. I thought he didn’t sign with NY last year because they told him that he wouldn’t start at short.

      • spudchukar - Dec 13, 2013 at 10:16 PM

        Drew signing with the Yankees is the least desirable outcome for the Sox. He goes to a division rival, plugs a hole, with very few option, and most importantly, screws them out of valuable draft position. I bet they put up some kind of fight.

    • proudlycanadian - Dec 13, 2013 at 7:44 PM

      “Now playing second base for the Yankees – Kelly Johnson”. It sort of has a ring to it.

      • spudchukar - Dec 13, 2013 at 8:32 PM

        If anything doesn’t have a “ring” to it is trying to compete in the AL East, with an albatross at 2B.

      • Francisco (FC) - Dec 14, 2013 at 7:38 AM

        Not the World championship kind.

      • proudlycanadian - Dec 14, 2013 at 7:42 AM

        I hope they do not realize that.

      • dirtyharry1971 - Dec 14, 2013 at 8:40 PM

        Now holding up the basement in the AL East….”the Toronto bluejays!” now that has a big time ring to it!!!

      • proudlycanadian - Dec 14, 2013 at 10:39 PM

        Enjoy Christmas Harry.

  3. phillysports1 - Dec 13, 2013 at 6:09 PM

    Nice pick up by KC .Now don’t trade Butler!

  4. leylandshospicenurse - Dec 13, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    As a Braves fan, I loved this guy. He will make the Royals a much better team. I’d say the Braves, Reds, and Brewers are happy to see this as well.

  5. weaselpuppy - Dec 13, 2013 at 6:19 PM

    Nice moves with Aoki and Infante, although Omar hit above his weight class last year and he won’t be repeating that kind of season in the last two years of that deal.

    They need a better 2nd starter than Guthrie, as they have an ace, a couple nice young arms that may get it done as middle rotation starters, Guthrie and a couple veteran punching bags in Vargas and Hochevar…

    • spudchukar - Dec 13, 2013 at 6:23 PM

      I agree that another starter is needed, but comparing Vargas to Hochevar is grossly unfair. Vargas has proven to be a reliable #4 type guy, and Hochevar sucks.

      • weaselpuppy - Dec 13, 2013 at 9:28 PM

        agreed. Vargas has been a guy you can give the ball to and he won’t kill you in most starts even if you know you’ll need 4 or 5 minuimum to win that day. Hochevar as a starter has been vulgar,

      • spudchukar - Dec 13, 2013 at 10:05 PM

        You got it.

  6. pisano - Dec 13, 2013 at 6:30 PM

    Good boy Cashman, that’s two years in a row you let another team sign a quality player at a position you need to fill.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 13, 2013 at 6:53 PM

      the Royals just signed an average player for 4 years beginning at his age 32 season. He was a need, but not for 4 years.

      • hittfamily - Dec 13, 2013 at 6:59 PM

        Fangraphs says the going rate per win is about 7 mil this offseason. He’s averaged 3 fWAR each of the last 2 years. Great signing!

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 13, 2013 at 7:20 PM

        Each year was heavily influenced by one aspect, in ’12 by his defense which was a huge outlier, and ’13 by his offense, which was a huge outlier. He has a career wRC+ of 92 and hit 117 last year. I’m not saying he was overpaid, I’m saying the contract length is too long.

      • weaselpuppy - Dec 13, 2013 at 9:31 PM

        so according to fWar Trout should get $70MM a year? or $32MM a year for Colby Rasmus???

        beware extrapolating scouting numbers to salary values.

      • hittfamily - Dec 14, 2013 at 12:49 AM

        A win is valued differently by each team, but do I think the Yankees would pay 70 mil to have an additional 10 wins next year? Red Sox? Dodgers? Yep!

        The going rate for 1 additional win in MLB is 7 million dollars. There is no denying this. It has happened over, and over, and over again, and Fangraphs has written several articles on this. The Rays current payroll is over 80 million. Inflation happens.

        Church, using career WAR for a 12 year vet, who is a completely different player in 2013 compared to 2002 is idiotic and foolish. I’ve argued with you too much, and know you are neither an idiot, nor a fool. In the last 4 years, Infante has posted a 2.1, 2.1, 2.9, and 3.1 fWAR. He has posted a 103,111, 89, 91, and 117 wRC+ in the past 5 years. He is an average MLB hitter. He plays second base though, and is really good at it. What’s your next excuse for being wrong….Jose Fernandez sucks because of small sample size?

    • twenty1miles - Dec 13, 2013 at 6:54 PM

      Do you really want Infante for 4 years though? Nothing against the guy but he had a career year at age 31 and will likely regress pretty hard.

  7. blynch67 - Dec 13, 2013 at 6:47 PM

    As a Yankee fan, we certainly need a quality 2nd bagger. I’d prefer Omar Infante over Brandon Phillips.

    I’m not sure why we weren’t able to sign him.

    • cackalackyank - Dec 13, 2013 at 7:16 PM

      Cash did not want to give him four years. I think it was an age/injury history thing.

    • genericcommenter - Dec 13, 2013 at 8:02 PM

      Apparently, both Cashman and Infante realize that there is no way he will be worth over $6 million to anyone at age 36.

      • pastabelly - Dec 13, 2013 at 8:50 PM

        Since when did the Yankees begin worrying about $6 million contracts? It’s not as if they won’t be paying an injury prone centerfielder $22 million when he’s close to 40.

      • dirtyharry1971 - Dec 14, 2013 at 8:43 PM

        pastabelly that CF will be 37 when that deal is done, that’s still 3 years away from 40 and his injuries have been freakish where he ran into one of his own players in the outfield, its not like he has had nagging hamstring issues like Reyes, those injuries only get worse with time

  8. metrocritical - Dec 13, 2013 at 6:55 PM

    3/4 of the Tigers’ starting lineup from the beginning of last season will be playing elsewhere next year, and while getting rid of Fielder’s absurd contract might’ve been a good move, Detroit now has more holes in its lineup than last year and must replace 50 plus home runs, 150 RBI and multiple challenges throughout the batting order that opposing pitchers needed to navigate. Where is the production going to come from? Last year’s team was far from perfect but this year’s team, as currently constructed, looks even further than before.

  9. homergreenz - Dec 13, 2013 at 6:55 PM

    What does this mean for Stephen Drew?

    The Boston sports media collectively went wild yesterday tearing Boras to pieces over his comments about Drew’s suitors.

    If Infante can draw a multi year contract, surely Drew can.

    Yes, I’m calling you Shirley.

    • pastabelly - Dec 13, 2013 at 7:17 PM

      Perhaps you didn’t know that Drew received a qualifying offer from Boston. That makes him less marketable than Infante. Many believe that Boras would have served his client’s interest by taking the $14,100,000 for a year.

  10. hittfamily - Dec 13, 2013 at 6:56 PM

    Great signing!! Maybe the best this offseason! A guy who has averaged 3 fWAR over the past 2 seasons for 2 mil more per year than the Rockies are paying Boone Logan! Homerun Dayton Moore. The Royals biggest need filled for the best bargain this offseason. Lookout Detroit, because someone’s getting stronger, while you are getting weaker. That 7 games difference in 2013 is shrinking fast.

    • weaselpuppy - Dec 13, 2013 at 9:44 PM

      Your 2nd best starter is Guthrie. Your 3rd best is Vargas. Not too worried.

      • hittfamily - Dec 14, 2013 at 12:58 AM

        I’m not a Royal fan, but subtract a fat guy who was injured for the final month of last season, and your offense looks a lot like the Astros. Also, you traded an ace for Vince Lombardi, or something like that. Your closer once struck out Fred McGriff, If a case of tainted Geritol is passed around the Tigers locker room, they’re in a lot of trouble.

      • hittfamily - Dec 14, 2013 at 1:01 AM

        Fact: Jim Leyland just retired.
        Fact: Jim Leyland is younger than 3 guys on the Tigers 40 man roster.

  11. leoimpr - Dec 13, 2013 at 7:17 PM

    Cashman blew this one, Omas shoul;d have been playing second for the Yankees wow

  12. cackalackyank - Dec 13, 2013 at 7:38 PM

    Not trading for Phillips. Check. Not signing Infante for four years. Check. Six outfielders under contract. Check. So, I guess maybe Soriano IS going to be playing some 2B after all?

    • spudchukar - Dec 13, 2013 at 8:39 PM

      I would pay to see that.

      • cackalackyank - Dec 13, 2013 at 11:17 PM

        I bet you wouldn’t want to pay what a seat in NYS costs to see it. Road game I’m guessing. Or maybe on YES?

    • pisano - Dec 14, 2013 at 12:35 AM

      cackalack… a scarier thought would be Nunez ( hands of stone ) playing second, I wouldn’t put it past the Yankees.

  13. kcrobert10 - Dec 13, 2013 at 7:41 PM

    Great move by my royals. Now if we can somehow convince Santana to return we will be ready to be extremely competitive. I wouldn’t count out a Santana return either I have not seen his name connected to a lot of other teams.

  14. 18thstreet - Dec 13, 2013 at 8:15 PM

    I enjoy all the piling on Cashman. And I really wonder: what’s he going to do now? Kelly Johnson is a backup. And, whatever happens to A-Rod, he’s surely missing the first 50 games next year. Meanwhile, no one seems to be discussing that that the Yankees don’t seem to have anyone throwing the eighth inning next year (yet) and their LOOGY signed with another team, too.

    It’s hard to predict the future, but it’s hard to see turning this pile of random pieces into a playoff team.

  15. drewzducks - Dec 14, 2013 at 8:58 AM

    The irony of it all is that the Yankees have been outbid on what appears to have been their targeted 2B’s by the Seattle Mariners and the Kansas City Royals in large part by both of them more than likely using luxury tax funds provided by said Yankees.

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