Thursday, December 12, 2013

Report: Reds interested in Omar Infante

Could free agent Omar Infante end up in a Reds uniform in 2014? According to Bob Nightengale of the USA Today, the Reds are certainly interested in the idea.

Empirical evidence seems to suggest that the Reds are adamant about trading Brandon Phillips in an effort to free up payroll. Reports surfaced Wednesday night that the Yankees shot down a proposed trade involving the Gold Glove second basemen for outfielder Brett Gardner. Although it was rejected, this doesn't mean the two clubs aren't still open to a revised trade package.

If the Reds did deal Phillips, and assuming they received no suitable replacement, they would obviously be in the market for a second basemen. This is where Infante may enter the picture. However, it won't be simple to lure the veteran to the Queen City. As one of the top remaining free agents on the market, several teams are still in the mix for Infante's services, namely the New York Yankees, who reportedly offered him a three-year contract on Thursday, but his agent maintains his client wants four years at around $40 million total.

It goes without saying, but in order for the Reds to realistically sign Infante, they will have to deal Phillips first, and that probably means working out an exchange with the Yankees, who might be better off to simply give Infante the contract he wants as opposed to giving up something to the Reds in return for Phillips.

In 12 big league seasons, eight of which have come with the Detroit Tigers, the 32-year-old Infante is a career .279/.319/.402 hitter and is regarded as a relatively average fielder.On the other hand, Phillips is a career.271/.320/.429 hitter and is widely regarded as one of the top fielding players at his position. As you can see, offensively-speaking, both players are eerily similar to each other. If the Reds were somehow able to trade Phillips, block the Yankees from pursuing Infante any further, and then swoop in to ink Infante to a lesser deal than Phillips is owed (5yrs/$50M), then maybe the whole ordeal would be worth it.

The Royals and Yankees continue to be the favorites to sign Infante, though.

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