Omar Infante had been my leading candidate to replace the “disrespected” Robinson Cano, but now he’s become the starting second baseman for the team that lost out on Carlos Beltran at the hands of the New York Yankees.
The Kansas City Royals have agreed to terms on a four-year, $30 million contract, according to multiple reports. The Royals got the player they were looking for, and now the Yankees must continue to search for a second baseman — assuming they would want to upgrade over recently signed Kelly Johnson.
The Yankees had been showing serious interest in Infante, but they were unwilling to go past the three-year, $24 million contract they offered to him right after Cano signed his mega-deal with the Seattle Mariners.
Infante might not be close to the player that Cano is, but he still would have provided a decent bat in the lineup, and would have been able to play not only second base, but could also play third base if Alex Rodriguez is suspended for most or all of the 2014 season.
With Infante now off the board, the Yankees must continue their search, and at this point, it’s starting to look like trading Brett Gardner is not going to be a part of it. The team had a chance to trade for Brandon Phillips of the Cincinnati Reds a few days ago, but rejected the trade because of the money still owed to Phillips — $50 million over four-years — and that his declining numbers at the plate don’t justify the contract.
Afterwards, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman made it clear the Yanks would only trade Gardner if it got them at least a No. 4 starter in return.
Right now, Johnson would be the starting second baseman for the Yankees on Opening Day. He hit 16 home runs last season for the Tampa Bay Rays, and being a left-handed hitter in Yankee Stadium, that number can surely go up. He’s got the top in the bat, and can handle himself in the field, and maybe even play third base if needed.
If they still want to find someone on the free-agent market, Mark Ellis, who spent last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, wouldn’t be a terrible option either.