Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Infante could be every day, everywhere
By Andrew Marchand
Robbie Cano wants $300M. Omar Infante would cost a lot less, and free up money for more stars.
When the Yankees had their organization meetings, they knew they had to become more versatile. Too many times in 2013, manager Joe Girardi had to ask Vernon Wells to play third or Lyle Overbay to find an outfield glove. They had no Inspector Gadget players, who had an answer for any position that became a question mark.
That is one thing that appeals to the Yankees about Omar Infante, sources have told ESPN New York. Yes, he could be a fall-back option at second base if Robinson Canosigns elsewhere. But even with Cano, the Yankees think Infante could be the answer at third if Alex Rodriguez isn't around and could be shortstop insurance for Derek Jeter.
Infante has played 60 percent of his major league games at second and a combined 23 percent at short and third. He also plays the outfield, which is another bonus.
While the Cano talks make national headlines, the Yankees are still very much engaged with Infante's agent, sources have told ESPN New York. The market for Cano is still not totally clear.
With the Yankees, Infante, 31, could be a modern-day Tony Phillips, which would mean basically playing every day but just in different positions. Depending how the market plays out, it could make some sense for him and the Yankees.
The biggest obstacle for the Yankees is that Infante will likely have a clean opportunity to play every day someplace else. It could eventually be with the Yankees if Cano were to leave.
There is also is the possibility, which we have discussed before, to sign Infante and not Cano. Infante is probably going to make somewhere in the $5M-8M range in average annual value (AAV), which is what you use for the golden $189M threshold. While the Yankees' first choice is to retain Cano, at this point they seem unafraid of the idea of using the excess savings from not signing him and investing that in other parts of the team.
So instead of an AAV of $23M at second, the Yankees would have, let's say, $6M, meaning they could use the extra $17M in many ways.
Even with Cano, Carlos Beltran and Masahiro Tanaka are still very much in the picture. Without Cano and the cheaper Infante, the Yankees could add even more players.
QUESTION: Would you rather sign Cano -- or Infante, Beltran, Tanaka and one more big-time player?