Omar Infante would have been a tremendous addition to the New York Yankees. In 118 games last year, he batted .318/.345/.450 with 10 home runs and 51 RBIs. His versatility would have been a godsend as he was clearly the best option to replace Robinson Cano at second base and/or Alex Rodriguez at third. However, the Bombers were outbid last December and Infante signed a four-year, $30.25 million deal with the Kansas City Royals.
Fast forward a month and a half. Thanks to Masahiro Tanaka and a seven-year, $155 million deal, the Yankees blew past the luxury tax threshold for 2014. Previously, the team was attempting to keep payroll under $189 million, which is why they allowed Infante to go to the Royals.
But now that they’re over the luxury tax limit, the Yankees have reemerged as a potential landing spot for Stephen Drew. In 124 games last year, Drew batted .253/.333/.443 with 13 home runs and 67 RBIs. Like Infante, Drew is a legitimate major league starter who could shore up the Yankees’ current roster of ragtag infielders.
Despite Drew’s solid season in 2013, I maintain my position that New York should avoid signing the soon-to-be 31-year-old infielder. Essentially, he’s too costly in terms of salary, a draft pick and distractions. Regardless of whether they sign him or not, the Yankees’ rekindled interest in Drew only further proves they made a mistake by letting Infante slip through their fingers.
With greater versatility coming at a cheaper price, Infante would have been a much better acquisition. Yet, Yankees didn’t sign him in an effort to avoid going over $189 million – which they surpassed anyway. Now, they’re stuck with a tremendous luxury tax rate and a crop of infielders that is loaded with question marks. What’s worse is that their only remaining option for improvement, Drew, is more expensive and less valuable. Hindsight truly is 20/20.