KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Royals might have found their answer at second base.
The Royals and veteran Omar Infante reached a tentative agreement on a four-year contract Friday night, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the contract.
The deal was first reported by Fox Sports.
Royals general manager Dayton Moore has said throughout the offseason that upgrading at second base was a priority. Kansas City used six players at the position last season, though none did enough to make the Royals feel comfortable moving forward.
Infante, who turns 32 on Dec. 26, would stabilize second base in Kansas City for the first time in years. He hit .318 with 10 homers and 51 RBIs in 118 games for Detroit last season.
Infante received substantial interest from the New York Yankees, who were seeking a replacement for Robinson Cano. But the Yankees were hesitant to give Infante more than three years, and the Royals decided to give the versatile infielder an extra year to help consummate the deal.
The Royals signed left-hander Jason Vargas to a $32 million, four-year deal in November to help replace Ervin Santana, who is likely to sign elsewhere in free agency. The deals for Vargas and Infante push the notoriously frugal Royals beyond $90 million in payroll for next season — a club record, assuming they don't make any moves to trim salary.
Moore has said he expects payroll to be "about the same" as last season, which was roughly $82 million. But he's also said the Royals can be flexible if the right opportunity arises.