Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
Pull the plug on Omar Infante.
On the plus side, the Kansas City Royals were able to acquire Ben Zobrist, who fits into their lineup quite nicely. On the negative side, that acquisition was necessitated due to the struggles of Infante and Alex Rios (spoiler – he shows up next) throughout this season. Now that Alex Gordon has returned, Zobrist has essentially rendered Infante as a bench player, since he has made all of three starts since the first of September.
It is easy to understand why that would be the case. Despite his seven triples, and his hot streak after nearly being voted in to the All-Star Game, Infante has produced a meager .217/.230/.306 batting line with one home run and nine walks all season. Infante’s .537 OPS and -1.1 WAR are the lowest of any second baseman that qualifies for the batting title. In fact, he has the lowest OPS of any qualifying player in either league this season.
Yes, there have been mitigating circumstances. Infante has bone spurs in his elbow and will require offseason surgery. He missed time at the early part of the year due to various nicks and bruises. And yes, he has been solid defensively. Yet, the fact remains that Infante has been an almost automatic out for the vast majority of the season, and his defense is not enough to overcome the liability that his bat has become.
When he was signed, Omar Infante was expected to solidify the Kansas City Royals at second base for the next few years. Instead, he has become yet another question mark, continuing the revolving door that the position has been over the past few years.
Next: The Royals highest priced free agent signing this offseason