The Yankees have been in talks with second baseman Omar Infante, given their vacancy at second base. Infante's probably the best second baseman on the market now that Robinson Cano is all but locked up in Seattle, and it's obvious that he knows it. The 32-year-old wants a four-year deal worth about $8 million per season, and the Yankees don't want to give him that fourth year:
Source says Yankees have no intention of giving Omar Infante 4-year deal. After losing out on Beltran, Royals may be favorites for Infante.— Mark Feinsand (@FeinsandNYDN) December 11, 2013
Yankees interested in Gregorious & Infante
With the Yankees on the market for a second baseman to fill the vacancy left by Robinson Cano, New York could turn to the trade market if Infante's demands are too high.
The Royals appear to be the chief competitor for Infante's services, and if they want to give him that fourth year, they can go right ahead. While Infante had a good year in 2013 with a 117 wRC+ in 118 games (he missed a month and a half with a sprained ankle), he had a wRC+ hovering around 90 from 2011-12 with the Marlins and Tigers. He's been a good defensive second baseman in the past, but he was only okay last year. He would give the Yankees another righthanded hitter, but who knows if he can even approach his 2013 numbers again?
If the Yankees can get Infante for three years and $24-26 million, that wouldn't be too bad. In the worst-case scenario, his bat disappears again and he becomes a utility infielder, which was his role for most of his first decade in the pros. Four years kind of scares of me though; at that point, just sign Mark Ellis for a one or two-year deal. Ellis will turn 37 next June, but he put up roughly equal overall production to Infante last year thanks to far superior defense and he won't cost nearly as much. Frankly, I would not be heartbroken if they just gave a short deal to Ellis and declined to even offer Infante three years. He's just not a very inspiring player (neither is Ellis, but hey, shorter contract).
Then again, we've already seen the Yankees acquiesce to Carlos Beltran's request for a third year this off-season in addition to giving Jacoby Ellsbury a contract longer than the one the Red Sox were prepared to offer. Will they again bow down to a free agent's desire for more years or hold their ground? I know which side Greg Kirkland will take.
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