The New York Yankees hope to re-sign Robinson Cano but reports are already circulating that the Yankees are looking at possible replacements just in case another team swoops in and offers Cano a contract he can’t refuse. One of those names is Detroit Tigers’ second baseman Omar Infante who won’t be extended a qualifying offer meaning the soon-to-be 32-year-old won’t cost the team that signs him a draft pick. While Infante would be a decent consolation prize he would still be a consolation prize. However, with so many questions surrounding the Yankees, especially on the left side of the infield, signing Infante even if Cano is brought back would make a ton of sense for the Yankees.
The Yankees are waiting on the arbitration case surrounding Alex Rodriguez’s suspension to come to a head and could be looking at a year without their star third baseman. Shortstop Derek Jeter will turn 40 next season and is coming off of a year where he only made it onto the field for 17 games. There is a very good chance that the Yankees will look to add a player who can easily take over at third or shortstop just in case Rodriguez is suspended for the year or Jeter’s ankle and legs fail him once again.
Infante would be the perfect addition as an insurance policy for Rodriguez, Jeter and, to a lesser extent, Cano. Infante is a career .279/.319/.345 hitter and is coming off of a season where he hit .318/.345/.450 with 10 home runs, 51 RBI, 24 doubles, 54 runs scored and only 44 strikeouts. He also has experience playing second base, shortstop, third base and all three outfield positions.
There have already been rumors that the Yankees might be interested in Stephen Drew as insurance for Rodriguez and Jeter but Drew turned down more money from the Yankees last season for less money but guaranteed playing time with the Boston Red Sox. Infante might want the guaranteed playing time but the Yankees might be in the best position to offer Infante the most money and given the situation the Yankees are facing Infante would be guaranteed to hit the field. The only question is would it be at second if Cano bolts, shortstop if Jeter’s health fails him or at third base if Rodriguez is suspended.
The Yankees do have Eduardo Nunez but he didn’t show much last season aside from slightly improved defense but offered less offense than hoped. Jayson Nix, who is arbitration eligible, is a nice complimentary player but not someone you really want playing every day. There is also the possibility of Mark Reynolds coming back as the impending free agent wasn’t awful in his short stint with the Yankees last season.
Infante could be coveted by a few teams this off-season with the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets looking for help at shortstop. However, while the Yankees might not know where the guaranteed playing time will take place they can offer it and might be prepared to offer the kind of contract Infante can’t turn down.