Oct 17, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers second baseman Omar Infante (4) throws to first base against the Boston Red Sox in game five of the American League Championship Series baseball game at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
"That is one thing that appeals to the Yankees about Omar Infante, sources have told ESPN New York. Yes, he could be a fall-back option at second base if Robinson Cano signs elsewhere. But even with Cano, the Yankees think Infante could be the answer at third if Alex Rodriguez isn’t around and could be shortstop insurance for Derek Jeter."
Infante didn’t do much besides play second base in Detroit — he was specifically acquired to fill that spot — but he got a “jack of all trades” reputation with the Atlanta Braves when he made an All Star team as a utility man. He started games at six different positions in 2008 — left field, third base, shortstop, second base, and center field — and could do much the same for the Yankees while adding in steady (if unexceptional) offensive contributions.
Infante, who’s contract with the Tigers expired at the end of the season, was high on fans’ wish lists until the Prince Fielder–Ian Kinsler trade solidified the second base position. Omar could still fill a sort of utility role in Detroit if they wanted him to — third base is a question mark and perhaps he could platoon some in left field — but my guess is that they want to keep third base open (or open enough) for Nick Castellanos and don’t want to pay Infante seven figures if he doesn’t have a spot.
A utility role shouldn’t mean a pay cut for Infante, who’s probably the best second baseman on the market not named Cano, so there’s no reason for him to rush to accept an offer if it’s not for a top dollar amount. He’ll be a prized commodity once Cano signs, or perhaps for an enterprising team that doesn’t want to engage in the Cano bidding war shenanigans.