Omar Infante and the Blue Jays: BBB Staff Free Agent Picks

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Bluebird Banter writers were asked who they would pick if they could choose one free agent for the Blue Jays to sign. It is Damaso's Burnt Shirt's turn.

I was originally planning to write about Robinson Cano. Why not? He's the best 2B in the game with power and defense (when his head is in the game) and his loss would cripple the Blue Jays' AL East rival New York Yankees. Cano would turn the Jays offense from good to awesome as well as solidify a very weak position in the Jays lineup. However, there's a small catch: a $300 million/10 year small catch which makes it very unlikely that the Blue Jays would sign him. A desperate man can dream, right? Of course signing him would mean there would be no money for starting pitching. There is a cheaper alternative that won't hamstring the Jays for a decade: Omar Infante.

The 31-year-old Omar is 18th on the MLB Trade Rumors list of the top 50 free agents, and has a predicted contract of 3 years for $25 million, which fits the Jays current payroll budget unlike the gargantuan contract Robinson will probably get.

Infante's 2013 slash line was .318/.345./.450 which was one of his best hitting seasons. Based on his career norms, he usually hits around mid .270s with an on-base percentage of .315 and slugging just above .400. Considering that in 2013, Jays 2B hit a whopping slash line of .216/.258/.297, a merely average (for him) Omar Infante would be a dramatic improvement.

Looking at his stats on Baseball Reference, his career platoon splits are almost the same. He'll hit right-handed pitching with a similar average and OBP as lefty, but with a touch less power (around 30 slugging points lower). Defensively he is not awful. Not Ryan Goins spectacular, but decent enough to wash away the bad taste of Boni-turis.

He's been around a 2.0+ rWAR player for the last three seasons (2.4 rWAR in 118 games in 2013.)

As much as I would like Robinson Cano be the Jays new 2B, Omar Infante would give the Jays a decent-but-not-spectacular 2B and allow them the payroll flexibility to sign a decent free agent starting pitcher or catcher. Another bonus is that Infante won't cost a draft pick as he wasn't given a qualifying offer by the Tigers.

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