2013 was an off-season to remember, but one thing the Yankees probably wish they could forget was Robinson Cano bolting the Bronx for Seattle. Impossible to replace, the Yankees searched for answers and many thought they found one in former Tiger, Brave and Marlin Omar Infante. In 2012, Infante batted .318 with 10 home runs and 51 RBI while playing far above average defense and seemed like an obvious fit for the Yankees. But instead Infante signed a 4-year $30 million dollar contract with the Kansas City Royals, while the Yankees were forced to prop up an aging and fragile Brian Roberts and hope for the best. A year later, despite Roberts’ awful performance, the Yankees made the right choice.
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About a half hour before the July 31st Trade Deadline, the Yankees struck a deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks. They agreed to send catching prospect Peter O’Brien, who hit over 30 home runs in the minors this past season, but struggled with defense and strikeout problems, in exchange for super utility player Martin Prado. Prado, probably the most versatile player in baseball, was originally acquired to be the everyday right fielder to fill in for the ailing Carlos Beltran, but ended up playing more second base, his best position, than any other spot.
While Prado may not be the Yankees’ starting second baseman next season (Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela will probably be starting while Prado shifts around. Probably the best way to fully utilize him.) he’s the team’s default option at that spot. Also, he’s a very similar player to Infante and has brought some people, including me, to compare the two. It seems like the Yankees got the better player in the end.
Martin Prado- New York Yankees #14
Born: October 27, 1983 in Maracay, Aragua, Venezuela (Age 30)
Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports
Height: 6’1″ Weight: 190 lbs
Contract Status: Signed through 2016 ($22 million dollars remaining)
Career Numbers: .291 batting average, 78 HR, 426 RBI, .340 OBP
Awards: 2-time All-Star (2010, 2012)
Prado’s level of consistency is well known. When he joined the Yankees, he was batting .270 with 5 home runs and 42 RBI with just a .317 OBP in 106 games. In 37 games with the Yankees, he batted .316 with 7 home runs and 16 RBI along with a .336 OBP. He continued to display the same clutch hitting, gritty personality, above average defensive skills and leadership that has been prominent throughout his career. His power numbers rose in the hitter friendly Yankee Stadium and he’ll look to continue that in his future with the Yankees.
Omar Infante- Kansas City Royals #14
Born: December 26, 1981 in Puerto La Cruz, Anzoategui, Venezuela (Age 32)
Height: 5’11” Weight: 195 lbs
Contract Status: Signed through 2017 ($23 million dollars remaining with a $10 million dollar option for 2018)
Career Numbers: .276 batting average, 80 HR, 487 RBI, .316 OBP
Awards: All-Star in 2010
Infante has never been your monster power-hitting second baseman. He’s a scrappy player like Prado, but far less consistent. Defensively they’re about equal and Infante can also play multiple positions having appeared at both shortstop and third base along with his usual second base
Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
spot. In 2014 he hit just .252 with 6 homers, 66 RBI and a .295 OBP in 135 games. He continued to play above average defense and he’s been a leader on the young Royals team that is currently playing in the World Series against the Giants. But he’s two years older than Prado, under contract for longer and making more money despite putting up lower numbers.
It was probably a good thing that the Yankees decided not try and top Kansas City’s offer to Infante. They’re trying to move away from their current contracts to aging players and overpaying for someone like Infante would not have been a smart move.
Now granted, the $11 million dollars the Yankees owe Prado isn’t exactly a good deal. That’s the result of Arizona’s former front office brass upping Prado’s contract after acquiring him from the Atlanta Braves in the Justin Upton trade (Or the Chris Johnson trade depending on who you ask.) It may be a little forward to say that Prado is just better than his former teammate (They played together in Atlanta from 2008 to 2010) but that may be the reality. He’s younger and the commitment to Prado is smaller and you get more bang for your buck the way I see it. The Yanks sacrificed the whole first half of 2014 with Brian Roberts playing second, but in the end it was worth the wait to let Infante go elsewhere. Prado figures to be a very important part of the Yankees future.