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Omar Infante Rumors
MLBTR's Zach Links spoke to Giants vice-president and assistant GM Bobby Evans about the team's remaining offseason plans and about one move that didn't pan out…
- The Giants were linked to Omar Infante earlier this winter but Evans said the two sides weren't that close to a deal. "I think that we really were more or less trying to stay flexible in terms of where we might have the best fit, but the challenge for us was that we didn't necessarily have Omar's first position available," said Evans of Infante, whom the Giants were said to be considering in left field. Ultimately, Evans said San Francisco wasn't ready to make the four-year commitment that Infante got from the Royals. The Giants took care of their left field situation last week when they signed Mike Morse.
- Echoing recent comments from Giants GM Brian Sabean, Evans said that most of the club's "boxes are checked" at this stage of the offseason, meaning they'll be focusing on organizational depth rather than moves that will affect the 25-man roster.
- While the club has been getting some calls on Brett Pill, Evans says he doesn't have a read on whether Pill will wind up staying or going. Evans spoke highly of Pill while also acknowledging that he's more or less blocked in the Giants organization. The Brewers were recently said to have some level of interest in Pill to address their first base vacancy.
TUESDAY: Infante will get $5MM in 2014, $7.5MM in '15, $7.75MM in '16, and $8MM in 2017, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). The $10MM option for 2018 can be bought out for $2MM.
DECEMBER 16th: The Royals have announced the signing, and they'll hold a press conference Tuesday morning. The deal evidently includes a team option for 2018, although the terms aren't yet known.
DECEMBER 13th: The Royals and Omar Infante have agreed to terms on a four-year contract, reports ESPN's Buster Olney (Twitter links). The deal is for $30.25MM and also includes incentives, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman tweets. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports first reported that the two sides were "very close" to a deal (also on Twitter). Infante is represented by agent Gene Mato. Infante was MLBTR's 18th-ranked free agent heading into the offseason.
Infante, 32 in two weeks, batted .318/.345/.450 with 10 homers and solid second base defense for the Tigers in 2013. The veteran also drew interest from the Yankees and Reds, with the Yankees reportedly offering a three-year deal worth $24MM.
The move marks the next step in the Royals' offseason, a relatively eventful one for a small-market team. In addition to Infante, they've also added Jason Vargas and Norichika Aoki. As with Vargas' contract, Infante's offers the Royals a very reasonable average annual value, although it's a strong possibility that Infante won't be particularly effective at the end of the deal, when he'll be 35. Infante had been rumored to be seeking north of $8MM per year, and he settled for slightly less, though four years is a longer contract than he might have expected. At the beginning of the offseason, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes predicted Infante would win a three-year, $25MM deal.
Before Infante agreed to terms, Emilio Bonifacio and Johnny Giavotella had been the Royals' top options at second base. Infante did not receive a qualifying offer, so the Royals will not have to sacrifice a draft pick to sign him.
Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.
On this date in 1980, the Yankees made Dave Winfield the highest-paid athlete in all of sports with a ten-year, $16MM contract. In the intervening four decades, a ten-year MLB contract is now worth something in the neighborhood of $240MM (Robinson Cano and Albert Pujols) to $275MM (Alex Rodriguez). Meanwhile, $16MM will only buy you one year of Hiroki Kuroda or two years of Marlon Byrd this offseason, per MLBTR's Transaction Tracker. As you rush out and buy your child a bat, a glove, and every baseball instructional video ever made, here's today's American League news and notes:
- The Rays feel justified in giving James Loney the most lucrative free agent contract during Andrew Friedman's tenure, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. The Rays value Loney's defense, quality at-bats, clubhouse presence, and his left-handed bat which balances a predominantly right-handed lineup.
- Also from Topkin's article, the Rays will now turn their attention to adding bench and bullpen pieces with catcher Jose Lobaton and outfielder Matt Joyce as possible trade chips.
- The market for Matt Garza is strong because of his 2013 season, AL East pedigree, and not being attached to draft pick compensation, tweets CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman.
- The Angels believe they can sign both Garza and Raul Ibanez and still fall below the $189MM luxury tax threshold, writes FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal. Rosenthal notes the Angels' interest in Ibanez stems from his career slash line of .349/.407/.522 in 327 plate appearances at Angel Stadium.
- Also from Rosenthal, the Astros are still in the market for a first baseman and could turn to the Nationals' Tyler Moore.
- Despite the signing of Joba Chamberlain, the Tigers' preference is to have Bruce Rondon set up closer Joe Nathan, according to John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press.
- The Royals are to be commended not just for signing Omar Infante away from the Yankees, but also strengthening their ballclub immediately at a reasonable cost, opines Fangraphs' Jeff Sullivan.
Homer Bailey is due to become a free agent after the season, but the Reds are telling other teams that they don't want to trade him, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports (via Twitter). The Reds are worried about their depth in starting pitching, and Heyman notes that the return of Bronson Arroyo might be able to help them. Heyman also tweets that the Reds are one of the finalists for Arroyo, along with the Twins and two other teams. Here are more notes from around the National League.
- The Braves are not interested in Arroyo, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. They would prefer a starting pitcher with better stuff, O'Brien says.
- One player the Braves do like is sidearmer Luis Vasquez, who they recently signed to a minor-league contract, O'Brien writes. "He’s [Peter] Moylan plus five miles an hour," says GM Frank Wren. "Moylan at his best was probably 92, and this is 94, 97 routinely. It’s definitely a different look." Vasquez, who will be 28 in April, posted a 2.52 ERA with 11.6 K/9 and 7.1 BB/9 in 35 2/3 innings split between Double-A and Triple-A in 2013. Clearly, he'll have to improve his control to make an impact in the Majors.
- The Giants had interest in Omar Infante, FOX Sports' Jon Morosi tweets. Somewhat surprisingly, they were interested in using him as a left fielder in 2014, before eventually moving him to third base. Infante today agreed to terms on a four-year deal with the Royals to be their second baseman.
- The Phillies are neither rebuilding nor contending, and their plan is unclear, argues Matt Gelb of the Inquirer. Since late July, for example, the Phillies have spent $69MM signing or re-signing aging veterans Chase Utley, Carlos Ruiz and Marlon Byrd, and yet they are trying to trade veteran closer Jonathan Papelbon. Meanwhile, Gelb argues, they agreed to sign Roberto Hernandez because they hadn't developed enough pitching on their own.
4:49pm: Infante and the Royals are closing in on a four-year deal worth roughly $30MM, according to ESPN's Buster Olney (Twitter link).
The Royal and Yankees have been said to be the top suitors for the Gene Mato client. New York has reportedly offered a three-year, $24MM contract, but Infante has seeking a four-year, $40MM pact.
7:48pm: The Yankees and Infante are "too far apart" in their negotiations and a deal is unlikely, a source tells ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews. The Yankees will keep their three-year/$24MM offer to Infante on the table but in the meantime will consider Stephen Drew as an alternative.
11:19am: Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that the Yankees offered Infante $24MM over three years.
THURSDAY, 11:08am: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Yankees have made a three-year offer to Infante, but the second baseman is looking for a four-year, $40MM pact (Twitter link).
WEDNESDAY, 1:45pm: The Yankees have no desire to go to four years on Infante, and the Royals may be the the favorites in talks, per Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (on Twitter).
11:21am: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports (on Twitter) that the Yankees are one of the teams talking to Infante.
8:37am: The Royals are a serious possibility for Omar Infante and may even be considered the favorites, MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo tweeted late last night. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets that Infante is currently talking with the Royals and two other teams.
Yesterday it was reported that Infante is seeking north of $8MM per year on a multiyear deal this offseason. The soon-to-be 32-year-old batted .318/.345/.450 with 10 homers and strong defense at second base last season in the final year of a two-year, $8MM pact he signed when coming off a down season.
Kansas City's second basemen combined to bat just .240/.296/.306 as a collective unit in 2013, so Infante makes some sense as a target for GM Dayton Moore. Emilio Bonifacio turned things around after coming over from Toronto and projects as their current starter. However, he's been an inconsistent performer throughout his career, and the Royals, who are hoping to build on last year's winning season, could prefer a more stable option. Bonifacio's versatility would allow him to be used in a super utility role should Kansas City ink Infante.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that a surprising name has popped up on the list of suitors for Omar Infante; according to Nightengale, the Reds are "quite interested" in Infante but would obviously need to move Brandon Phillips in order to pursue him (Twitter link).
The Yankees and Royals are said to be the strongest suitors for Infante at this time, with the Yankees reportedly having offered three years and $24MM to Infante shortly after Robinson Cano signed with the Mariners. Infante, however, is said to be seeking a four-year, $40MM pact similar to the extension signed by Martin Prado last winter.
Phillips' name has been on the block, and though the Reds have publicly downplayed his availability, recent reports have indicated that he's still in play. Phillips' name surfaced in a prominent rumor last night, as it was said that the Yankees turned down a swap of Phillips for Brett Gardner. There was more to the story than the initial report, as Phillips has the Yankees on his no-trade list and tried to re-open his contract talks to get more money in order to facilitate the deal.
Phillips is owed $50MM over the next four years, which isn't much more than the $40MM sought by Infante over the same term. However, such an offer doesn't appear to be on the table for Infante, so in the event that they find a taker for Phillips, perhaps the Reds could swoop in, sign Infante for $30-35MM and save $15MM or more.
Since being ruled ineligible due to providing a false birthdate over the summer, Cuban shortstop prospect Aledmys Diaz has interest from a list of teams including the Braves, Cardinals, Dodgers, Giants, Orioles, Rays, Red Sox, and Yankees, agent Jamie Torres tells Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com. “There are some very good players out right now and more are coming,” Torres said. “Let’s put it this way: I can predict that a few of the Cuban players that sign between now and Spring Training are going to contribute in the big leagues in the 2014 season and their contribution is going to be significant.” More from around baseball..
- Omar Infante has been looking for a four-year deal and is drawing some interest from clubs who see him as a left fielder or third baseman, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Yesterday it was reported that Infante is seeking a deal with an $8MM+ average annual value.
- Some agents and teams are convinced that the three-year, $30MM deal the Astros gave free agent pitcher Scott Feldman has been a wrench in talks for others since agents feel obligated to also shoot for that type of “lottery ticket” contract, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com.
- Free agent Raul Ibanez is considering offers from multiple contenders, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Earlier today, Stark reported that Ibanez could be headed to the Angels.
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson says he’ll hold on to Ike Davis if no one comes to the table with a strong enough offer, writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. “Let me emphasize one thing: We’re not in the business of giving players away,” Alderson said. “We don’t expect to get in that business.”
- The Tigers are in on Ervin Santana, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (via Twitter). The Twins, meanwhile, aren’t in the mix because of the draft pick compensation tied to him.
- Agent Scott Boras says he would talk to Orioles owner Peter Angelos about extensions for Matt Wieters and Chris Davis, writes CSNBaltimore.com’s Rich Dubroff.
- The Twins continue to talk to free agent pitcher Mike Pelfrey, a source tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). It’s unclear whether a deal with Pelfrey would preclude a signing of fellow free agent hurler Bronson Arroyo, but MInnesota has flexibility.
- One GM tells Peter Gammons of Gammons Daily (Twitter link) that he can’t see Kendrys Morales signing until after the draft.
- White Sox General Manager Rick Hahn says his team still has several potential options ahead less than 24 hours after acquiring center fielder Adam Eaton from the Diamondbacks in a three-team deal, writes Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com. One rival exec believes the White Sox would like to trade outfielder Dayan Viciedo, who is now part of a crowded house with the addition of Eaton. Another baseball source said the White Sox have looked into the possibility of trading away second baseman Gordon Beckham.
- The free agent market for second basemen seems to be impacted by the availability of Howie Kendrick, Brandon Phillips, and others, tweets Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.
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It's been fairly quiet on the Omar Infante front, but interest in the former Tiger should pick up now that Robinson Cano is off the board. Infante is the top remaining free agent second baseman, and he's already been linked to the Royals and Yankees in the past 24 hours. Here's our Tuesday rundown of Infante rumors…
- Infante is reportedly seeking an annual salary north of $8MM on a long-term deal, according to ESPN's Buster Olney (Twitter link).
- Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register notes (also via Twitter) that Infante's asking price likely impacts the market for the Angels' Howie Kendrick, who is owed $18MM over the next two seasons. Teams unwilling to meet Infante's asking price could look to Kendrick as a superior option.
Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz continues to draw heavy interest from Major League teams, reports Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. Some teams like Diaz, who can't sign until Feb. 19 due to falsifying his age last offseason, as a second baseman. Passan reports that Braves, Yankees, Dodgers, Giants, Blue Jays and Cardinals as teams who have been heavily represented at Diaz's most recent showcases in Mexico (Twitter links). Some more links from around the league…
- Jeff Francoeur, who recently underwent LASIK surgery, is seeking a job as a backup outfielder, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Frenchy will also abandon his use of a 35-ounce bat in 2013 — a weight only utilized by Orioles slugger Chris Davis.
- Felix Pie is nearing an agreement with Korea's Hanwah Eagles, according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Pie hasn't seen much big-league action in the last two years, recording just 31 plate appearances in 27 games with the Pirates in 2013.
- ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that the Royals' offer to Carlos Beltran was slightly less than the Yankees' three-year, $45MM offer but would technically have paid Beltran more due to the tax differences between Missouri and New York.
- The Dodgers have not been involved in negotiations with Omar Infante, tweets Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
- As they search for starting pitching help, the Orioles will be open to multiyear contracts rather than just one-year deals, GM Dan Duquette confirmed today (Twitter link via Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com).
- The Twins pursued a catcher before the market dried up, but had no interest in going to three years for any of the free agents they targeted, tweets Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Minnesota "made that clear from the start," according to Berardino.
- Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker passes along word, in a translated tweet, that Japanese right-hander Kenta Maeda has expressed interest in playing in MLB, perhaps as soon as 2015.
Luke Adams contributed to this post.
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