Today, we take a look at an infielder that is coming off one of his best seasons in his career :
Infante is a 31-year-old infielder that spent last season with the Detroit Tigers. In his career, he’s hit .279 with 1,165 hits and 207 doubles in 12 seasons.
The right-handed hitting Infante hit .318 with 10 home runs and 51 RBI in 118 games as the Tigers’ primary second baseman. He hit 24 doubles and struck out just 44 times in 453 at-bats.
Infante flourished in Detroit last season with some of his best numbers since his 2010 All-Star season with the Atlanta Braves. His .318 average was good for fourth in the American League and he has now reached double digits in home runs for the second consecutive season. The 31-year-old seems to be hitting his stride and could be due for a few more productive seasons. Infante would benefit from joining a lineup with sluggers Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez and Matt Kemp.
The former All-Star was an above average defender at second base last season, good for plus-five runs in Total Zone Fielding. Infante isn’t just limited to second base, as he’s had extensive time at third base and shortstop in his career. He can even play outfield, if needed, just like he did in 2010 with the Braves. The Dodgers may need him more at third base, where he has spent 107 games in his career and is worth plus-five Defensive Runs Saved. His versatility makes him an intriguing pickup for the Dodgers.
Despite missing some time with a leg injury last season, Infante has been fairly durable in his career. In the last four seasons, the least amount of games he’s played is the 118 he played in last season. He’s also a great example of a professional, having played multiple positions in his career without ever publicly complaining. Infante would give the Dodgers that veteran presence in the clubhouse, especially with the younger, Latin players.
Infante was a full-time second baseman in 2013 and should expect to be an everyday player wherever he goes. The Dodgers’ second base position has seemingly been given to Alex Guerrero, meaning that Infante would likely have to make the move to third base for a starting role. The Dodgers could potentially move Ramirez to third, Guerrero to short and open up second base, but that involves a lot of moving parts that could backfire. Infante may want to stay at second base and that would likely take the Dodgers out of the running for his services.
Before last season’s .345 on-base percentage, Infante had OBPs of .283, .330 and .312, which is extremely low for a non-power hitter. In a lineup like the Dodgers have, Infante must be able to get on base to score runs and he has struggled to do so in his career. He took just 20 walks last season and has only had at least 40 walks once in a season.
The Dodgers will likely be in the playoffs for the next few years and Infante hasn’t done well in October. He’s hit just .255 and has 25 strike outs in 110 career playoff at-bats. In the 2013 postseason, the 31-year-old hit just .205 and scored only one run in 11 games. The Dodgers would like a player that can produce once October comes and could be put off by Infante’s numbers under the postseason pressure.
Infante made $4 million last season with the Tigers and could receive a raise this off-season. He’s young enough to warrant a multi-year deal and give himself some stability after being traded four times since 2007. Infante could receive a four or five year deal worth $5-6 million a year. He could also receive a three-year deal worth more money, depending on a team’s needs.
Chances Dodgers Sign Him: 7%
Infante will be looking for a second base job, while the Dodgers’ opening is at third base. If the market runs dry, Infante could seek the third base position with the Dodgers, but he should receive interest coming off his best season in four years.
The Dodgers will try to find a primary third baseman to fill their hole, but could turn to Infante if they miss out.
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