The New York Yankees are pursuing infielder Omar Infante not just as an alternative to Robinson Cano at second base, but also as potential insurance should things go awry at third base or shortstop with Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter, reports Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York.
It's been well established that New York's first choice at the keystone is Robinson Cano. Though the Yankees have publicly stated his 10-year, $310 million asking price is far removed from reality and something they'd never consider, the club has still taken the time to sit down with him this week to find some sort of middle ground. It's clear they want him back.
Second on the Yankees' list appears to be Infante, who hits the open market after a career year with the Tigers. The Venezuelan infielder hit .318/.345/.450 with 10 home runs in 118 games for Detroit in 2013, notching career-best marks in batting average and slugging average.
Even if Cano re-signs for crazy money, Infante could be an option for the Bombers. Unlike most of the players on New York's roster, the 31-year-old Infante has a wealth of big-league experience playing multiple positions. While 60 percent of his playing time has come at the keystone, the remaining 40 percent has been spread fairly evenly among shortstop, third base and the outfield. What's more, he rates as a plus defender at all of those positions.
Should Alex Rodriguez's suspension hold up or, god forbid, Derek Jeter's ankle gives out again, Infante's versatility could potentially save the Yankees from replaying the nightmare scenario that led to Vernon Wells playing third base last year. As it stands, the back-ups on the left side of the infield are a bunch of no-stick and/or injury-prone guys like Brendan Ryan, Jayson Nix and David Adams.
Though Infante has been worth roughly three wins above replacement each of the past four seasons, he's never earned more than $4 million in salary, which could work in the Yankees' favor. Prognosticators seem to think that Infante will get a three-year deal for between $25-30 million this offseason, which isn't exactly cheap but is a pretty solid deal for such an adaptable player.