The New York Yankees finalized their deal with veteran backup shortstop Brendan Ryan on Wednesday when they re-signed him to a two-year, $5 million deal with an option for a third year that with incentives, could be as much as $10 million.
With Ryan officially back in the mix, plus Derek Jeter re-signing earlier in the off-season to a one-year, $12 million deal, the Yankes are making sure they have enough bodies in the infield because last year, they were left short-handed with Jeter's multiple injuries, plus the injuries to Alex Rodriguez and Kevin Youkilis.
With Rodriguez currently battling MLB to get a 211-game suspension overturned and Robinson Cano negotiating to have one of the highest free agent contracts in history of the game and both of their statuses in 2014 currently uncertain, it would make sense for Yankees GM Brian Cashman to look at all available options just in case any of his infielders aren't back, which is why he is interested in Detroit Tigers infielder Omar Infante.
"That is one thing that appeals to the Yankees about Omar Infante, sources have told ESPN New York. Yes, he could be a fall-back option at second base if Robinson Cano signs elsewhere. But even with Cano, the Yankees think Infante could be the answer at third if Alex Rodriguez isn't around and could be shortstop insurance for Derek Jeter."
The 31-year-old Infante spent most of 2013 as the Tigers starting second basemen and with Detroit trading for Texas Rangers second basemen Ian Kinsler this past month, it all but ended Infante's tenure with Detroit. While there is some chatter that Infante could be the Plan B in case Cano leaves, Infante's value is being able to play all over the infield at shortstop and third base, so if Jeter and Rodriguez aren't available to the Yankees, Infante could easily slide in and play if needed.
Last season, Infante hit .318 with 10 home runs and 51 RBI in 118 games and would not be as expensive of a free agent option like re-signing Cano will be; especially the 10 years and $310 million he's been reportedly demanding. although that price tag will eventually come down once he realizes nobody in baseball is paying him $31 million per season.
Of course though, the Yankees one issue with Infante is that while they wait on Cano's decision and to hear on what happens with A-Rod this winter, Infante might get scooped up by another team to play second base or another infield position, so the Yankees are going to potentially make a quick decision on if they really like Infante that much to sign him and plug him into the lineup somewhere.
Infante came back to the Tigers in his second tour with the team when he was dealt along with Anibal Sanchez from the Marlins to Detroit and helped them get to the World Series last season and then again helped Detroit win the A.L. Central and get to the ALCS before losing to the eventual champion Boston Red Sox.
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