Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Royals to Sign Omar Infante

Buster Olney is reporting that the Royals have agreed to terms with free agent second baseman Omar Infante on a 4 year, $30.25 million contract – plus incentives, per Jon Heyman.

The soon-to-be 32 year old is coming off a career year with the Tigers, in which he hit .318/.345/.450 with 10 home runs and 3.1 fWAR. Infante is a solid defender at second, and while he doesn’t offer a ton of upside, he is an upgrade over the Royals’ second base situation in recent years, as I outlined yesterday. Steamer projects Infante to hit .288/.325/.407 in 2014, good enough for 2.2 WAR.

Going off of recent Royals’ strategies, it may make sense to assume Ned Yost will bat Infante 2nd in the lineup, which will drop Alex Gordon into the middle of the order. While having Infante near the top of the order isn’t the worst decision the team could make, he’s probably better suited for 6th or 7th so he’s not getting more plate appearances than superior Royals’ hitters. If Infante does hit 2nd, opposing pitchers shouldn’t expect to rack up many strikeouts in the first inning, since both Infante and Norichika Aoki have strikeout rates under 14%.

Infante’s presence at second base means that Emilio Bonifacio is likely going to be a super utility player, which is a great role for him. It also likely means that Christian Colon will remain in Omaha for at least another year.

Adding Infante’s salary will push the Royals’ payroll to another record-setting level, so we’ll have to see if the team moves any other players in an effort to cut that number down a bit. Billy Butler is the name being thrown around the most in trade rumors, but Luke Hochevar and Wade Davis are a couple of other higher-priced players that some teams may have an interest in.

It’s hard to completely hate a free agent signing for a player who is probably going to provide average or slightly above average production for less than $8 million per season, although I’m not a huge fan of the 4th year, much like the Jason Vargas signing. A team can do much worse than Infante, and they acquired him without having to surrender any prospects or major league players. Infante is a solid player, and if the Royals can add another high impact starter before the winter is over, they may be in store for a very exciting season.

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  • jimfetterolf

    Better price than I feared. Do agree on where to bat him, I’ld have Aoki 1, Hosmer 2, Butler 3, Gordon 4, Perez 5, Moose 6, Infante 7, and Cain 8, at least for the 1st month, then juggle the roster. Bonifacio as super utility lessens the pain of losing Lough and Dyson and allows for days off for Moose against tough lefties.

    Like you, glad it didn’t cost prospects. Royals have the money and filled a need, so trade a couple of relievers and Dyson and probably Lough for minor leaguers and get on with it.

  • Chad Woelk

    Great news for Royals fans as long as it does not mean Billy will be traded due to financial restrictions. Find Wade a new home!!!

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  • moretrouble

    I like the signing and the deal. Infante is an experienced, above average player who should fit well into the KC concept of defensive and contact hitting. It’s a significant upgrade for the team.


    This was a must move to bolster run production. With Infante and Aoki at the top, this pretty much guarantees Hosmer, Butler and Gordon will see better pitches and get more RBI opportunities. That’s certainly a huge plus for the team, but will it balance out the dip in the starting rotation we’re likely to see?

    As the writer noted, both of the four year deals for Vargas and Infante were a stretch but that was apparently how they lured the players away from other teams. One question I have is how much time Bonafacio will actually see as utility and whether he’s worth the 3+million he’ll be getting.