The Kansas City Royals have agreed to a four-year contract with veteran second baseman Omar Infante, according to CBS Sports baseball writer and MLB Network insider Jon Heyman:
royals have deal with infante, $30M, 4 yrs, as @Buster_ESPN said.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 13, 2013
infante royals deal is pending physical. he has connections w/ royals peeps from atl days. yankees still looking for a 2B.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 13, 2013
The deal will reportedly pay Infante $30 million over the next four years through the 2017 season.
The Royals confirmed the deal on Monday via the team's Twitter account:
#Royals officially sign INF Omar Infante to a 4-year contract, with a club option for 2018.— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) December 16, 2013
The team introduced Infante on Dec. 17:
He spoke about the deal and why he came to Kansas City, via Dick Kaegel of MLB.com:
"I really got to see this team up close and I was very impressed by what they did last year," Infante said. "I think they're close to taking the next step."
According to Spotrac, Infante's previous deal paid him $8 million over two years.
Infante, who will turn 32 on Dec. 26, has spent the past 12 seasons starring for the Detroit Tigers, Miami Marlins and Atlanta Braves.
Kansas City wasn't the only team gunning for the Venezuelan this offseason. As Drew Silva of Hardball Talk pointed out, the New York Yankees were also pursuing Infante to fill the void at second base left by Robinson Cano's move to Seattle.
Plus, Infante is coming off one of the better years of his major-league career, batting .318 with 51 RBI and 10 home runs in 2013. As ESPN Stats & Info points out, Infante was one of the American League's best at the plate last season:
Highest BA in AL in 2013, minimum 400 PA- Miguel Cabrera .348, Joe Mauer .324, Mike Trout .323, newest KC Royals IF Omar Infante .318— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 13, 2013
Newest KC Royals infielder Omar Infante was 3rd-toughest hitter in AL to strike out last season (9.2% of PA)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 13, 2013
Tigers' play-by-play announcer Mario Impemba had only praise for Infante in the wake of his departure:
#Royals just got themselves a really good player. Congrats to Omar Infante.— Mario Impemba (@mario_impemba) December 13, 2013
Given his numbers and his experience, there's no doubt the Royals have added a quality player who's sure to bolster their infield. While some will debate the price tag, it's hard to fault a franchise that hasn't been in contention for decades for aiming to get better.
Infante made his major-league debut with the Tigers in 2002 and spent six seasons in Detroit before joining the Braves in 2008. After three seasons with Atlanta, Infante signed with the Marlins, who traded him back to the Tigers after one and a half seasons.
Infante has appeared in the postseason on four separate occasions with the Tigers and Braves since 2006, and the Royals hope he can help lead them to the playoffs for the first time since 1985.