Omar Infante Rumors
A few items about the soon-to-be Miami Marlins...
- Omar Infante has turned down the Marlins' first multiyear contract proposal, reports Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Infante believes the team will wait until after the season to resume negotiations, though both sides are known to be interested in continuing Infante's stint in Miami.
- Also from Rodriguez (Twitter link), he thinks the Fish will at least take a look at free agent Edwin Jackson this winter.
- Hanley Ramirez underwent shoulder surgery today, performed by Dr. James Andrews, reports Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post (Twitter link). The shortstop is expected to be fit for Opening Day when the Marlins open their new ballpark, though Capozzi isn't sure Ramirez will be recovered by April.
- Between Logan Morrison's grievance against the Fish, Ozzie Guillen's tenure in Chicago possibly coming to an end and the Marlins' long-held interest in having Guillen manage their club, speculation has already begun that the White Sox and Marlins could revisit the possibility of a rare player-for-manager deal. Kevin Kaduk of Yahoo Sports is skeptical that Florida would give up a talented player for a manager whose contract is up after 2012 (or who could be fired before then). MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez (via Twitter) is even more blunt, saying the deal would be "the dumbest trade in baseball history -- and even Ozzie would agree."
The Marlins are discussing an extension with second baseman Omar Infante, according to MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro. The sides are discussing a multiyear deal, and though they aren’t currently close to finalizing anything, they could complete a deal before the season ends.
Infante told Frisaro that he wants to return to Miami in 2012. The 29-year-old native of Venezuela has a .279/.321/.376 line with five homers in 574 plate appearances in his first season with the Marlins. Infante, who joined the team in last November's Dan Uggla trade, earns $2.5MM this year.
Infante will hit free agency after the season if he doesn't sign a deal with the Marlins. He projects as a Type B free agent, which means the Marlins could obtain a draft pick in 2012 if Infante turns down an offer of arbitration to sign elsewhere. Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reported this weekend that the Marlins want to bring Infante back in 2012 and will offer him a contract.
While their new ballpark is "80 percent complete," the Marlins are trying to avoid the NL East basement. Here's the latest from South Beach...
- The Marlins want to bring Omar Infante back next season and will offer him a new contract, reports Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. The second baseman has a .272/.322/.373 line this season and will be a free agent this winter.
- Also from Spencer, the Fish recently approached Anibal Sanchez about a contract extension. The team turned down offers for Sanchez at the trade deadline and the right-hander is clearly seen as a big part of Florida's future plans. Today, Sanchez threw one of the best games of his career, striking out 11 Pirates in a complete game gem.
- Larry Beinfest's recent history of contract extensions, first round draft picks and the return on the Miguel Cabrera/Dontrelle Willis trade has been less than impressive, writes Dan Le Batard for the Miami Herald. We recently heard that Jeffrey Loria and David Samson could be taking a larger role in player personnel decisions, so perhaps team ownership has the same opinion.
MLB.com's Joe Frisaro has a host of Marlins-related news as the team draws ever closer to its brand new stadium in 2012:
- It appears unlikely that Jack McKeon will again manage the Marlins in 2012. McKeon, 80, would be 81 next season and is likely to return to the advisor position he held from 2005 until taking the reins this year. Ozzie Guillen and Bobby Valentine are again listed as possible managerial replacements.
- With a new stadium on the horizon, owner Jeffrey Loria is ready to "do what it takes" to upgrade the organization. The club's payroll in 2012 is expected to top $70MM and could go as high as $80MM.
- The Fish would like to re-sign both Greg Dobbs and Omar Infante for the 2012 season. The veteran infielders are both free agents, but neither should be overly costly given their modest production in 2011.
- Starting pitching is a priority for the Marlins this offseason, and they'd like to add at least one left-hander. A look at the free agent market shows that the two biggest names that fit the bill will be C.C. Sabathia (assuming he opts out of his current deal) and C.J. Wilson, though it's hard to see the Marlins spending that kind of money. Beyond that, names include Erik Bedard, Mark Buehrle, and Chris Capuano.
- The Marlins are expected to be busy on the trade front, with Chris Volstad being a possible piece to be dealt. The Marlins would be selling very low on the 2005 first rounder, but with a 5.05 ERA over his last 468 2/3 Major League innings, it's not hard to see why they'd prefer to deal him before he hits arbitration.
- Selling low won't be an approach the team takes toward Hanley Ramirez. One of the Marlins' top priorities is getting their superstar healthy for Opening Day, and they aren't looking to trade him.
10:27am: The Infante rumors have no legs, hears Juan C. Rodriguez.
8:29am: Infante is a popular target, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney, but nothing is close with the Braves and the Marlins are leaning toward keeping him.
7:12am: The Braves and Marlins have had multiple conversations regarding Omar Infante, reports MLB.com's Mark Bowman. Infante's versatility would come in handy given the injuries to Nate McLouth and Jordan Schafer. Infante, 29, played three seasons for the Braves before November's Dan Uggla deal with Florida. He currently profiles as a Type B free agent.
- The Braves are working hard to acquire an outfield bat, but there are "still no dance partners" according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter).
- The Astros sent $2MM (not $1MM) to the Phillies in the Pence deal, according to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark (on Twitter). The Phillies won't have to pay the luxury tax this way, Stark reports.
- Kevin Goldstein and R.J. Anderson of Baseball Prospectus break down the trade that sent Pence to the Phillies.
- The Braves would have included Mike Minor in a deal for Pence, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter).
- One executive tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that the Braves have six untouchable players (Twitter link).
- The Mets thought they were going to trade Carlos Beltran to the Rangers earlier in the week, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Texas was being more aggressive than other teams and even though they weren't willing to include elite prospects, the Mets considered a multi-prospect package. Finally, the Giants offered Zack Wheeler and the Mets moved on from the Rangers, who wouldn't budge on certain requests.
- The Marlins intend to keep Leo Nunez, Omar Infante, Ricky Nolasco and Randy Choate, according to Olney (on Twitter). They've gotten tons of hits on those players, Olney reports.
Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com has some interesting tidbits of note in his latest blog post. Here's the latest ...
- The Marlins could be an intriguing seller this month, with closer Leo Nunez, starter Ricky Nolasco, reliever Randy Choate and infielders Omar Infante and Greg Dobbs potentially being made available. However, Florida does not yet consider itself a seller and won't commence an all-out firesale, what with a new ballpark opening in 2012.
- The slow-developing trade market can be attributed to the league's great parity this season, but the generally healthy financial situations of most teams is playing a role, too. Few teams need to dump big contracts.
- The Royals, for example, will be willing to listen on veteran outfielders Melky Cabrera and Jeff Francoeur, but Kansas City is under no pressure to trade either one.
- The Mariners, like the Fish, are still deciding whether they are ready to sell. Third-place Seattle is 7 1/2 games behind the division-leading Rangers.
When Omar Infante made last year's All-Star team, it surprised most fans, puzzled many and angered some. Utility players don't generally represent their league at the midsummer classic. But they don't generally lead their team with a .321 average and that's exactly what Infante did in 2010.
Doubters will point out that Infante has no track record to support his '10 performance and suggest that luck helped boost his slash line to .321/.359/.416. Infante, who had qualified for the batting title just once before last year, has a career batting average of .313 on balls in play. That figure jumped to .355 in 2010 and his line drive rate dipped, which could mean that Infante's offensive production is due to fall off.
There's more to Infante than his offense, though. He started games at second, short, third, left and right last year and though he has never logged 1,000 innings at any position on the diamond, his infield defense appears to be average. Infante's career UZR sits no higher than 2.4 and no lower than -1.2 at second, third and short, an indication that he can provide MLB-caliber defense at all three positions (the Marlins will likely play him at second in place of the man he was traded for, Dan Uggla).
If Infante continues to play solid defense and comes close to matching his 2010 production, he could position himself for a substantial contract. His former teammate, Placido Polanco hit .285/.331/.396 as a 33-year-old before signing a three-year $18MM deal with the Phillies in 2009. That same year, former utility player Marco Scutaro hit .282/.379/.409 as a 33-year-old and signed a $12.5MM deal.
Infante has yet to turn 30, so he could obtain a multiyear deal as a free agent after the season if he completes the transition from utility player to established regular like Polanco and Scutaro did. If Infante falters, however, his critics will be quick to re-apply the 'utility player' label and his free agency will likely end with a modest one-year deal.
Dan Uggla is now officially a Brave and David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that both Uggla and the club are both interested in giving Uggla the extension he couldn't get from Florida. Atlanta GM Frank Wren said the Braves are willing to talk about a long-term contract but not immediately: “I don’t see any reason not to do [an extension]. I mean, we knew what we were getting when we made the deal, and he was the top guy on our list. But I just don’t think we need to jump into things right now.”
- The Marlins asked for Martin Prado in exchange for Uggla two weeks ago, but Braves GM Frank Wren said no. He offered Omar Infante, whom Larry Beinfest accepted, along with Mike Dunn, for Uggla.
- Uggla will wear the #26 jersey formerly worn by Brooks Conrad, but this doesn't mean the Braves will be getting rid of Conrad this winter.
- The Braves have offered free agent Eric Hinske a contract. MLB.com's Mark Bowman reports the offer is a one-year contract worth $1.5MM.
- The club has not yet decided whether to tender Matt Diaz a contract. Arbitration eligible for the fourth time, the outfielder is a non-tender candidate.
- The Braves sent minor league outfielder Cody Johnson to the Yankees for cash considerations, according to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch (on Twitter). The 2006 first-rounder batted .189/.269/.343 in 260 plate appearances at Double-A this year. Johnson, 22, hit 32 homers in 2009 and 26 homers in 2008, so he has some pop.
MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post.
The Marlins wasted no time trading Dan Uggla this offseason, sending him to Atlanta for Omar Infante and Mike Dunn on Tuesday. The move came less than a week after the team broke off extension talks with their All Star second baseman due to a gap in negotiations.
Let's round up the latest Marlins' news in the wake of the trade...
- The Marlins repeatedly increased their contract offer to Uggla, tweets Clark Spencer of The Miami Herald, but he never backed down from five-years, $71MM. The original offer was four years and $48MM.
- Joe Capozzi of The Palm Beach Post says (via Twitter) that the Fish had substantial trade talks with five teams about their second baseman.
- The Cardinals had interest in Uggla but balked at the Marlins' asking price of Colby Rasmus, tweets Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says (via Twitter) that the Blue Jays had the most early interest in Uggla, offering prospects RHP Josh Roenicke, RHP Danny Farquhar, and either SS Ryan Goins or OF Darin Mastroianni.
- MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez tweets that Marlins exec Larry Beinfest said the money that would have gone to Uggla will be spent elsewhere, and not coincidentally Carl Pavano is now an option for them according to Capozzi (Twitter link).
- Meanwhile, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick says Florida originally asked Atlanta for Martin Prado in exchange for their second baseman, but later settled on Omar Infante.