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
It was clear that the Detroit Tigers wouldn’t be bringing back second baseman Omar Infante when the trade of Prince Fielder brought back Ian Kinsler, but Infante was perhaps the hottest name on the second base market once Robinson Cano signed with the Seattle Mariners. He was reportedly being sought after by organizations such as the New York Yankees and Cincinnati Reds, but yesterday he inked a four-year deal with the division rival Kansas City Royals. The deal is reportedly worth just more than $30 million (plus incentives).
The roughly $7.5 million AAV this deal carries is (to me) surprisingly low. I thought he’d get $10 million a year guaranteed over three or four years, if not more.
The calendar says that Infante is on the wrong side of the age curve — he’ll be 32 later this month — but he’s coming off the best two seasons of his career (in which he’s been worth an average of 3.0 fWAR). In order to be “worth” this contract, he needs to be worth only really 1.5 WAR per season. This looks like a fantastic deal for the Royals.
Kansas City has done well this offseason to improve their offense by adding Infante and outfielder Norichika Aoki, and both at moderate-to-low cost. I’m not yet at the point of considering the Royals an immanent threat to the Tigers’ AL Central crown — they’re probably still at least one arm short in the rotation — but they own a terrific bullpen and have the makings of a surprise run, especially if Eric Hosmer‘s second half surge represented a real turnaround.
This is a really good move for the Royals, which makes it a somewhat concerning move for the Tigers.