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.