Monday, November 12, 2007
Updated: November 13, 8:37 AM ET
Tigers acquire outfielder Jones for infielder Infante
By Jerry Crasnick
The Detroit Tigers acquired outfielder Jacque Jones and cash considerations from the Chicago Cubs for infielder Omar Infante on Monday.
Jones, 32, is a .280 hitter with 164 home runs in nine seasons with Minnesota and the Cubs. He hit 27 home runs in 2006, but he never warmed to Chicago and was a target of boos from Wrigley Field fans and abuse on the local radio call-in shows.
"Our scouts really like him and how he fits because he's a left-handed hitter that can play all three spots in the outfield," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "But I think it was a great trade for both teams because Infante can really help a National League team because he can play short, second, third and in the outfield."
The Cubs tried to trade Jones last winter with no success, and he was not in the team's plans for next season under manager Lou Piniella.
The Cubs currently have Alfonso Soriano and Matt Murton on the corners and Felix Pie and Sam Fuld to play center field in 2008. After trading Jones and declining to exercise the mutual option on Cliff Floyd, Chicago is in the market for a left-handed bat. But at the general managers meetings in Florida last week, Chicago GM Jim Hendry said the team's main goal is to get more "athletic'' in the outfield.
"We're happy to get Infante. He gives us another guy who is versatile and can play everywhere on the infield and all three outfield spots. ... It's good for both clubs," Cubs GM Jim Hendry said.
Jones is likely to play left field in Detroit, where the Tigers were looking at a combination of Marcus Thames and Ryan Raburn. He helps keep the position warm for top prospect Cameron Maybin, who hit .143 in 24 games with the Tigers last season. Maybin is only 20 years old, and could benefit from more time in the minors.
"He gives us another left-handed bat that we wanted in the lineup," Tigers president Dave Dombrowski said. "He's also an established major league winning player that gives us some flexibility in the outfield."
Jones is scheduled to make $5 million next season in the final year of a three-year, $16 million deal.
This is the second offseason trade for Detroit GM David Dombrowski, who acquired veteran shortstop Edgar Renteria from Atlanta for two prospects two weeks ago.
Jerry Crasnick covers Major League Baseball for ESPN Insider. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.