Winter League Success Doesn’t Translate for Infante

It’s now time for the yearly updates on Detroit’s favorite utility man, Omar Infante. For the third year in a row, Tigers MLB press has decided to make sure we all know how Omar is faring in the Venezuelan Winter League. The quote below from a 2005 article seems to ring true year after year:

Omar Infante’s winter season is going a little like his Major League season, an offensive roller coaster with plenty of promise but not enough consistency.

Articles like these from the past few years remind us all how boring the offseason is:

One question these brought to mind is: How long do you play in the MLB before you aren’t a prospect? At least somewhere between 0 and 428 games played over 5 years. How about one thousand four hundred and twenty six at bats? Much has been talked about around various Tiger blogs this off season about the trade prospects of Marcus Thames (or the outright release of one Neifi Perez), but what about Omar Infante as trade bait?

I’ve been around enough to know that Omar has many supporters here in Detroit, but it’s reality that Omar is not going to break into a starter role with the Tigers. With the resigning [EDIT] last year of Santiago, I don’t see the Tigers and Omar into the future. I don’t see Santiago as the answer either, however Omar isn’t. At the very least an Omar trade could help the Tigers strengthen their farm system where they need it most in the infield and catching.

I hope to hear your thoughts and opinions on Infante and the Tigers future together.

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7 Responses to Winter League Success Doesn’t Translate for Infante

  1. Steve Fought says:

    The “resigning of Santiago” took place in January 2006, not January 2007, right?

  2. Eric Jackson says:

    You are very correct, looks like I’m not used to the new year yet :) Thanks, I’ve edited the article.

  3. Gary says:

    Great article, especially for a tiger fan starved for news in the offseason.

    Couple of questions though. You suggest trading Infante, what kind of value can they get back for him? Is it worth trading our best backup infielder? (I rate him ahead of santiago and perez) That question is even more important when you consider the fact that he is really the backup for 1st,(Guillen moves over if casey goes down) 2nd Polanco is getting older and has had some injuries, SS where Guillen has some injury concerns, and CF where he can platoon vs. lefties when Granderson is slumping.

    And finally he’s the insurance in case Guillen’s price tag is too high. No way you move Infante before an extention is reached.

    The only way I see him moved is if the Tigers can fill all those holes first.

  4. Eric Jackson says:

    Thanks Gary. I think you raise some great points. For backup I would, as you, rather see Infante out there than either Santiago or Perez. I’d rather see Perez on another team, actually. However my viewpoint comes from how I see this playing out with Leyland next season.

    When Guillen went to first Leyland had Santiago replace him. This was during the playoffs mind you, so I don’t have reason to believe he’d act different during the season.

    If Casey were to go down in ’07, hopefully Shelton would be an option as well. This will be dependent on how Chris is doing at the time though. But I see Shelton as a more reasonable option.

    The biggest issue I see is with Guillen’s price tag. They have him for this year though. They don’t have anyone in waiting that is in line to be a starter at SS so if Guillen were to leave they would have to pick up another Free Agent or Trade.

    Depending on the trade, I think there are teams out there who would make better use of Infante. Tigers could get the young catcher they are looking at or some more bullpen prospects or, and I think they need this the most, some real infielders in their farm system.

    This might be a better move to do after the ’07 season if they aren’t going to get someone who will pay dividends immediately, and I doubt they could with Infante. I think the same on Thames though.

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  6. Rob says:

    Honestly, Infante just turned 25 the day after Christmas and should still be improving every year. Only one of the last 3 years has he been horrible at the plate (2005). In both 2004 and 2006, he was decent for a backup. His OPS last year was nearly 50 points higher than Polanco.

    If Omar could get some regular PT, he might develop into a decent starting middle infielder.

  7. Eric Jackson says:

    Rob, I think you are correct that he will still improve but the Tigers aren’t going to give that playing time.

    If Guillen gets signed long-term, Omar’s playing time won’t go up any time in the next few years. That is unless the Tigers plan on Guillen moving over to first at some point. Though there are three folks vying for that spot (outside of Casey): Thames, Shelton & Guillen..

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