Could Omar Infante become a Tiger again?
The Tigers traded away Omar Infante five years ago in a deal that ranks among the most regrettable of Dave Dombrowski’s tenure in Detroit. Now, as they look for ways to stop their revolving door at second base, it’s conceivable that they could try to get him back.
Jayson Stark of ESPN suggests Infante is on the Tigers’ shopping list for second basemen. Now 30, Infante entered the weekend batting .290 for the Miami Marlins with 23 doubles, seven home runs and 30 RBIs, good for a .769 OPS. He’s two years removed from an All-Star selection with the Braves.
The Tigers signed Infante as a teenager in Venezuela and developed him in their system. At one point, he was among the top prospects in then-general manager Randy Smith’s system. The last time Infante was a Tiger in 2007, manager Jim Leyland said he’d make an ideal National League player with his ability to play all over the infield. He found that role in Atlanta, where he played three infield and three outfield spots in 2008 and 2009.
Since coming to Miami, however, his focus has been at second base, which was his starting position in Detroit in 2004 and part of 2005 until the Tigers traded for Placido Polanco midway through that season.
That left Infante as a utility player in Detroit until the Tigers traded him to the Cubs after the 2007 season for Jacque Jones, who was released about five weeks into the 2008 season.
It wasn’t a particularly painful deal because Polanco played second base so well in Detroit through 2009, after which the Tigers let him go as a free agent. The Tigers have run through a handful of second basemen in 2 1/2 years since then, from Scott Sizemore to Will Rhymes to Brandon Inge, and now a mix of Ramon Santiago and Ryan Raburn. The Tigers have always worried about Santiago breaking down physically as an everyday player, but Raburn has failed to hold down the starting job in two tries over as many years.
– Jason Beck