Omar Infante was signed by the Kansas City Royals to solidify second base for the first time in years. Now, there are questions as to whether or not Infante will be starting at second base on Opening Day.
Infante has been battling injuries through much of Spring Training. Originally sidelined with shoulder discomfort, Infante has been out of the lineup since Monday with a sore elbow. Right now, even though the Royals expect Infante to be in the lineup a week from today, that is not guaranteed. According to Ned Yost, another setback could keep Infante out on Opening Day.
If that happens, the Royals have a decision to make. The easiest solution would be to put Omar Infante on the disabled list, retroactive to Monday, and keep either Christian Colon or Pedro Ciriaco to play second. This way, the Royals would have someone who is, at the very least, familiar with playing the position in a regular season game. Otherwise, if the Royals feel that Infante will be back within a day or two from Opening Day, they may try their luck by having either Danny Valencia or Mike Moustakas playing second.
It may also be possible that the Royals could change their plans heading into Opening Day. For much of Spring Training, the Royals appeared to be dead set on having five outfielders, with Valencia the only backup infielder on the major league roster. In fact, they even gave Justin Maxwell a spot on the 25 man roster last week, seemingly cementing the idea of five outfielders on the team. Now, without a truly viable option at second base, the Royals may need to rethink that strategy. Should they decide to keep a utility infielder to cover for Infante, they risk losing either Maxwell or Jarrod Dyson.
Of course, the Royals could opt to go with the widely discussed six man bullpen, which does not appear to be an option for them either. Yost appears to be determined to have the conventional seven man bullpen, with two left handed relievers. What is this thing called ‘outside the box thinking’ people keep talking about?
If Omar Infante is not ready for Opening Day, the Royals are going to have some tough decisions to make. Having a backup middle infielder may have become far more important than the Royals envisioned.