Omar Infante Rumors
Uggla, 31 in March, had another fine season in 2010 with a .287/.369/.508 line in 674 plate appearances. Uggla is one season away from free agency, and extension talks with the Marlins broke off after he rejected a four-year, $48MM offer. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports feels that the Braves will attempt to sign him long-term. Martin Prado will step in at third base as Chipper Jones recovers from knee surgery or log innings in left field if necessary, tweets Rosenthal. Uggla should be happy to remain at second base.
Infante, a super-utility type, hit .321/.359/.416 in 506 plate appearances for the Braves this year. He's under contract through 2011 at $2.5MM with another possible $1MM in plate appearance incentives. The loss may put the Braves in the market for a utility player, writes MLB.com's Mark Bowman. Dunn, 26 in May, is a hard-throwing left-handed reliever who came to Atlanta from the Yankees a year ago in the Javier Vazquez deal. Dunn racked up big-time strikeout and walk numbers this year between Triple-A and the Majors. The intra-division asking price for Uggla was expected to be large, but this is a disappointing return for the Marlins. They have succeeded in revamping their bullpen for the long-term, adding Ryan Webb, Edward Mujica, Dustin Richardson, and Dunn in recent trades.
The Cardinals, Blue Jays, Nationals, and Tigers were other reported suitors for Uggla.
The Braves "appear to be very close to nearing a deal" for Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla, tweets MLB.com's Mark Bowman. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweeted minutes ago that the division rivals are discussing a deal that would send Uggla to Atlanta for utility man Omar Infante and lefty reliever Mike Dunn.
Infante, a super-utility type, hit .321/.359/.416 in 506 plate appearances for the Braves this year. He's under contract through 2011. Dunn, 26 in May, is a hard-throwing left-handed reliever who came to Atlanta from the Yankees a year ago in the Javier Vazquez deal. Dunn racked up big-time strikeout and walk numbers this year between Triple-A and the Majors. The intra-division asking price for Uggla was said to be large, but this return would be OK at best.
The Braves exercised their 2011 options for Alex Gonzalez and Omar Infante, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (on Twitter). The team also signed reliever Scott Proctor to a one-year deal. MLB.com's Mark Bowman reported earlier today that the reliever will likely earn a base salary of $750K or so in 2011. Proctor, who was arbitration eligible, will likely have the chance to earn more through incentives.
The options for Gonzalez and Infante cost just $2.5MM each - a reasonable price to pay for two infielders who exceeded expectations in 2010. Gonzalez, who arrived in the Yunel Escobar trade, batted .250/.294/.447 with 23 hom runs in 2010. He hit most of his homers in Toronto, but added six in Atlanta. The 33-year-old is a good defender with some pop who has a sub-.300 on base percentage in his 12-year MLB career.
Infante, 28, batted .321/.359/.416 this year and made his first All-Star team. He finished third in the league in batting average and played second, third, short, left and right, so picking up his option was just a formality; the Braves weren't about to let him hit free agency.
The Braves have three free agents and three option decisions; MLB.com's Mark Bowman has the latest.
- Of free agents Derrek Lee, Troy Glaus, and Eric Hinske, only Hinske has a chance of returning. Bowman expects him to survey the market first.
- Billy Wagner still hasn't changed his plan to retire.
- Bowman expects the Braves to announce later today that they've exercised their $2.5MM options on Alex Gonzalez and Omar Infante. They'll be declining on Rick Ankiel and Kyle Farnsworth.
- Scott Proctor, who is arbitration eligible, is expected to agree to a deal with a $750K base salary and incentives allowing him to approach $1MM. The Braves also have Jair Jurrjens, Eric O'Flaherty, Martin Prado, Peter Moylan, and Matt Diaz eligible for arbitration.
MLB.com's Mark Bowman has a new blog post about the Braves' current situation.
- Utility man Omar Infante is out six to eight weeks after Manny Corpas broke a bone in his hand with a fastball. There is a trickle-down effect on the trade market - the Braves have less depth now, and probably can't move a guy like Kelly Johnson.
- Bowman adds that the Braves are likely to shop Jeff Francoeur, but the prospects are grim given his performance in recent times. The Braves are still hurting for power at the corner outfield spots.
According to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Braves signed Omar Infante to a two-year deal with a club option. Troy Renck says the deal is worth $4.325MM. The club 2011 club option is for $2.5MM with a $250K buyout. The deal buys out one free agent year with an option on a second.
Infante, 27, hit .293/.338/.416 in 348 plate appearances in '08 while playing second base, shortstop, third base, left field, and center field. The Braves acquired Infante and Will Ohman a year ago from the Cubs for Jose Ascanio.
UPDATE: 12-4-07 at 10:05am: Rosenthal confirms this baby, noting that the Cubs freed up a few mil for other pursuits.
FROM 12-4-07 at 9:23am:
According to Bruce Levine of ESPN Radio 1000, the Cubs have sent lefty reliever Will Ohman and infielder Omar Infante to the Braves for righty reliever Jose Ascanio. Ascanio closed a bit for the Braves' Double A affiliate last year; he turns 23 in May. He seems to have strong groundball tendencies.
Infante (acquired for Jacque Jones) and Ohman were a bit redundant on the Cubs' roster. They already had Scott Eyre and perhaps Sean Marshall coming from the left side out of the pen. And they've got plenty of middle infielders in Ronny Cedeno, Mark DeRosa, Mike Fontenot, and Ryan Theriot.
Who knows how this one will play out, but the Braves filled a couple of needs more cheaply than they might've on the open market. Ohman makes $1.6MM next year; Infante should be under $2MM.
Turns out the Cubs added a nice bonus for the Tigers to take Jacque Jones off their hands: $2MM in cash. So let's see here. Omar Infante will be up around $1.5MM in '08, and the Cubs tossed in $2MM. Jones makes $5MM in '08, though I'm not sure which team pays out the final chunk of his $4MM bonus. But I think it's fair to say that this "salary dump" saved the Cubs about $1.5MM. The Tigers got Jones pretty cheaply.
So the Cubs didn't clear much payroll, but they do have a clear vacancy in right field now. Kosuke Fukudome, as a left-handed hitting right fielder, is a perfect fit. I think the Cubs are on the right track with that one. Other considerations could include Ryan Church or J.D. Drew, in my opinion.
Gordon Wittenmyer notes in the above-linked article that the next order of business for Jim Hendry is re-signing Kerry Wood. This will be a good test of Wood's loyalty, as some team is liable to come in with some kind of two-year, $15MM type offer.
UPDATE: The deal is done; the Tigers also get cash considerations.
According to Jon Paul Morosi of the Detroit Free Press, the Tigers and Cubs are finalizing a Jacque Jones for Omar Infante swap. ESPN 1000's Bruce Levine called this one when no one else had it.
The Tigers would use Jones in left field, maybe sitting him against lefties in favor of Ryan Raburn. Jones played pretty solid center field defense for the Cubs last year; his ability to play that position was actually making him look like an asset at $5MM in '08. The Cubs may be ready to try Felix Pie in center next year, though they have been connected to Mike Cameron. Many consider the trade of Jones to be a salary dump. When the Cubs tried to trade him to the Marlins they were set to pay almost all of Jones' salary.
Infante has shown flashes of offensive ability with the Tigers, but hasn't hit for the most part. It would be interesting if the Cubs tried the 26 year-old at shortstop. He was once a top prospect, beginning 2003 as the Tigers' starting shortstop at age 21. He wasn't up to the task, getting benched by Alan Trammell for lack of hustle before being sent down. His arm strength as a shortstop has been questioned, and he's battled through shoulder and other injuries. Infante may be able to dabble in center field, aside from second base and shortstop. Or the Cubs could flip him to another team.
In other Tigers news, Danny Knobler says the team has stepped up their efforts to re-sign Todd Jones before midnight. At that point Jones would be able to negotiate with other teams.