Reinstalled as a regular for the first time since 2005, Omar Infante has spent most of the season as a pretty big disappointment for the Marlins. Like Dan Uggla, the second baseman he was traded for over the winter, Infante got off to a horrible start, as the 2010 All-Star for the Braves hit just .251/.293/.309 during the first half.
Infante, though, has been an excellent regular since, batting .337/.379/.515 in 169 at-bats. And now the Marlins want to keep him as they open their new ballpark next year, possibly in a multiyear deal, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reports.
The 29-year-old Infante is making $2.5 million this year after having his club option picked up. He’ll probably be looking to a raise to $4 million or so in order to agree to terms now.
Infante, though, does want to remain with the Marlins. After years as a utilityman, he’s been allowed to find a home at second base in Miami. Even though Infante has plenty of experience at shortstop, third base and the outfield — all places where the Marlins have been unsettled at times this year — Infante hasn’t played a game at any position other than second.
Infante isn’t as bad as he was in the first half or as good as he’s playing right now. He’s an average regular at second base still in his prime, so a multiyear deal wouldn’t be such a bad thing. At the same time, given that there’s always going to be cheap second basemen kicking around, it’s debatable whether the thrifty Marlins would be smart to commit something like $8 million to him for two years. They’re already spending $45 million on five players next year, so Infante only makes sense if they’re willing to commit to a $70+ million payroll for 2012.
What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? Just ask Javier Baez, who tracked down a sizzling 106-MPH ground ball from Jose Bautista on Friday afternoon. The defensive gem helped preserve the Cubs’ three-run lead in the top of the ninth inning, paving the way for Wade Davis‘ 25th save of the season.
Baez also impressed at the plate, collecting an RBI single in the second inning before getting tagged out at home by Miguel Montero on a convoluted 9-6-3-6-2 putout. He returned in the eighth inning to pester Tim Mayza and cleared the left field hedge with a 409-foot, two-run blast for his 20th home run of the year. With the win, the Cubs improved to 64-57 and now hold a scant 1.5-game lead over the Brewers in the NL Central.
The Dodgers have reinstated first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the 60-day disabled list after his recovery from a herniated disc. To make room for him they have optioned Rob Segedin to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Gonzalez last played on June 11. Since then the Dodgers have gone an astounding 46-9, with shoe-in rookie of the year candidate Cody Bellinger handling first base duties and posting a .978 OPS. When Gonzalez went down he was hitting .255/.304/.339 and only one homer in 49 games.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of playing time he gets going forward. The Dodgers, of course, have a comfortable lead in the NL West, so they could afford to allow Gonzalez to play a good bit to see if his bat sharpens up while simultaneously giving Bellinger, who has never played more than 137 games in a season, a bit of a breather. Beyond that, though, the Dodgers ain’t broke, so it’s hard to see why anyone would want to tinker with things.