Oct 16, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers second baseman Omar Infante (4) hits a ground rule double against the Boston Red Sox during the fourth inning in game four of the American League Championship Series baseball game at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Omar Infante May Solve the Royals Second Base Problems

Sep 25, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Detroit Tigers second baseman Omar Infante (4) attempts to field a ground ball in the fifth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Over the past few years, since Alberto Callaspo and Mike Aviles left the Royals, second base has been a black hole in the lineup. Chris Getz, for all of his grit and speed, never was able to contribute enough to be a true starter. Johnny Giavotella had his chances to seize the starting job, but never could produce well enough to take hold of the position. Even with the addition of Emilio Bonifacio in August last season, Royals second basemen produced only a .243/.296/.304 batting line with a .600 OPS. That OPS ranked 28th in baseball, and next to last in the American League. There is little wonder as to why that position was one of the targets in the offseason.

However, the Royals may have finally found the production they have been lacking at second. Yesterday, it was reported that the Royals have agreed to a four year, $30.5 Million contract with Omar Infante to come in and solidify that spot in their lineup. While Infante may not be the power bat that the Royals lineup is seemingly lacking, he has been a solid hitter, with a .279/.319/.402 batting line over his career. Since becoming an everyday player for the Braves back in 2010, Infante has been even better, producing at a .295/.327/.415 rate. Compared to the production that the Royals have gotten from second base in the past few seasons, having that type of production would be like getting an Ichiro in his prime. Ok, maybe not, but it is still a major upgrade.

Where Infante excels offensively is with his ability to put a bat on the ball, striking out only 616 times in 4169 career at bats, making him one of the more difficult hitters to strike out the game. A natural second hitter with his ability to make contact, drop down a sacrifice bunt and hit the ball the other way, Infante could give the Royals the ability to deepen the middle part of their lineup by slotting Alex Gordon in either the third or fourth spot. Having someone that can make contact could also help the Royals take advantage of Norichika Aoki‘s speed, as Ned Yost would be able to put on more hit and run plays and have someone able to protect Aoki should he get a bad jump on a stolen base attempt.

Omar Infante is also a solid defensive second baseman. In 2011 and 2012, he led American League second basemen in range factor, and is among the active leaders in several defensive metrics. Paired with Alcides Escobar, Infante could provide the Royals with excellent defense in the middle of their infield, which could help their pitching staff. Even if he is not the run producing threat that the lineup is thought to need, his ability to take away runs could have just as big an impact on the overall success of the Royals in 2014.

Second base has been a problem for the Royals over the past few years. Now, with the signing of Omar Infante, those problems may finally be over.

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  • Ed Connealy

    Merry Christmas! Great, great sign. Infante makes the team so much better. Solid second baseman, #2 hitter, and now they have options at SS and 3B in case Moose and Escobar lay turds like last year. Love this move and it didn’t cost them Butler or any arms. Well done Dayton! ( yes, I said that)

    • moretrouble

      It didn’t cost them Butler or any arms. That’s a great point. Nice post.


    I really like the additions this off season….we have a team made for Kauffman….we have the right players to have a very good team…. we pick up 2 guys who are better than what we had last year and are a bit better than league average…. guys who put the ball in play and have some speed… we keep Emilio as a bench player who affords us so many options….we have added speed and contact hitting to our line up and get to move a guy who can drive the ball to the middle of the order…more players who get on base for the guys who can empty the bases….
    I like vargas over chen….we need duffy, ventura or zimmer to be who they are supposed to be….if they are not. then were not going anywhere no matter who we signed or didn’t sign…fact is I feel this teams fortune is tied to those guys this year…if they have success then we will be pretty good…don’t know about playoff good but maybe 2-4 games better than last year possibly 90 wins…
    but where I really like this teams make up is in the fact that if escobar or moose screws the pooch….AGAIN…we have options to replace them and succeed…we did not last year…were not pinning our hopes on so many bounce back seasons….now we can simply replace them and keep moving forward…

  • jimfetterolf

    David Glass did his job, Dayton Moore did his, now it’s time for the kids to do theirs and I’m confident, as the replacements at Scapegoats, Escobar and Moose, both have identifiable mechanical issues which can be fixed just as Hosmer’s were last year. Should be a fun year, with just average luck and health.

  • Eric Akers

    I like the signing, and we got him for a little bit less than was expected, so it makes the 4th year a little bit easier. I like our defense now. RF defense won’t be quite as good, but definitely not bad, and 2B can potentially be improved quite a bit.

    I don’t really want him batting 2nd, but we all know that he will. But if he gets on base at a .320 rate, it wont be what we dealt with last year (other than the time Bonifacio was batting 2nd).

    I now don’t feel that Moose has to live up to his potential for us to be improved this year. He still needs to improve, but with the added offensive consistency at RF and 2B that we didn’t have last year, we aren’t relying on Moose and Escobar to improve as much.