It was expected that, if he was healthy, the Kansas City Royals second base job would belong to Omar Infante. Well, not so fast.
Omar Infante is owed close to $18 Million by the Kansas City Royals. With that type of contract, it would seem likely that he would be, if healthy, the Royals everyday second baseman. Even for a team without the Royals budget, that is quite the payout for a bench player for the next two seasons.
Barring an unlikely trade, that may be what happens. According to Dayton Moore, second base is going to be evaluated during Spring Training, with both Infante and Christian Colon getting a look at being the starter. The finances will not be a factor, as the Royals plan on going with the best lineup available, regardless of their contract.
"“You got to play the best guys,” Moore said. “It’s the Major Leagues. Our expectations are very high. Oftentimes you don’t run away with the division, so each game is critical. You have to play your best guys and win.”"
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It is easy to see why the Royals would want to evaluate Infante during Spring Training. Plenty of words have been typed about his disappointing 2015 season, where he produced a mediocre .220/.234/.318 batting line as he battled through a myriad of injuries. Likewise, Colon certainly deserves a longer look, as he has produced a .303/.361/.743 career batting line in limited action over the past two seasons.
Even if we ignore the contractual obligations, Colon may be fighting an uphill battle if Infante is healthy. Infante and Alcides Escobar have excellent chemistry up the middle, and Colon is not the same defensive presence. There is also the question of whether or not Colon can produce given an extended opportunity in the lineup, as he really has not had the opportunity to prove himself.
Eventually, it would make sense for the Royals to see what they have in Colon. He will turn 27 during the early part of the 2016 season, and the former first round pick has not had the chance to see if he can be a starting caliber player. If Colon is to get that chance, this may be his time. Otherwise, he could be destined to be another Johnny Giavotella type for Kansas City.
As it stands, it appears that Omar Infante and Christian Colon are in a true battle to be the Kansas City Royals starting second baseman. This will be an interesting competition to watch during Spring Training.