Royals, Yankees competing for Omar Infante
Jon Heyman reports that the Royals and Yanks are both in on free agent second baseman Omar Infante.
#royals will try again to beat yanks on omar infante. should be strong market. also an uphill battle for kc.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 8, 2013
As Jon notes, it would be hard to consider the Royals the favorite, especially with the deep-pocketed Yankees in the mix. The Yanks do have reasonable fallback options at second base in Brendan Ryan and Kelly Johnson, but they're no doubt angling for an upgrade.
As for the Royals, they badly need a player like Infante. Last season for the Tigers, Infante batted a nifty .318/.345/.450 in 118 games played. While that's a bit above his established level of performance (career 93 OPS+), he's capable of providing roughly league average numbers at the plate while capably manning an up-the-middle position. Infante turns 32 later this month.
The Royals, meantime, received basement-level production from their second basemen in 2013: Six players combined to hit just .243/.296/.304 with just 23 extra-base hits all season. Thus, a player like Infante would provide a substantial improvement. That's one of the soft spots GM Dayton Moore will need to address if Kansas City is going to contend again in 2014.