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Second baseman Omar Infante reportedly agrees on four-year, $30 million deal with Royals

  • The Kansas City Star
  • Published Friday, Dec. 13, 2013, at 6:05 p.m.
  • Updated Friday, Dec. 13, 2013, at 10:45 p.m.

Omar Infante, a second baseman with pop in his bat, appears to be headed to Kansas City.

Infante hit .318 with 10 home runs and 24 doubles for the Tigers last season.

The Royals didn’t confirm the agreement, which was first reported by ESPN’s Buster Olney, but it may be as simple as Infante passing a physical.

The deal would be for four years and $30 million and mean the Royals won out over the Yankees for Infante’s service.

The Yankees needed a second baseman to replace Robinson Cano, who has signed with the Mariners.

The Royals were looking to beef up a lineup that projected Emilio Bonifacio at second base.

Signing Infante would allow Bonifacio to remain a valued utility player, having played all three outfield positions and second base, third base and shortstop during his career.

Although he’s never won a Gold Glove, Infante led the National League in assists in 2011 with the Marlins. And he made the NL All-Star team in 2010 playing for the Braves. That season, Infante hit a career best .321.

With the acquisition of outfielder Norichika Aoki from the Brewers earlier this month, the Royals appear to have changed the top of their batting order. Aoki and Infante, who figure to bat first and second, are contact hitters who don’t strike out often.

Infante whiffed 44 times in 476 plate appearances last season and had a .345 on-base percentage. Aoki struck out 40 times in 674 plate appearances while hitting .286 with a .356 on-base percentage.

Infante, 31, had been the subject of rumors throughout the week during baseball’s Winter Meetings.

The Yankees reportedly offered him three years and $24 million but were turned down because Infante was looking for a fourth year.

Infante was seen as the best second baseman on the free-agent market and reportedly had drawn interest from the Reds, along with the Royals and Yankees.

The Royals’ signing of Infante would push next year’s payroll past $90 million, if no other moves are made.

The payroll had climbed to about $87 million with the four-year, $32 million contract given to starting pitcher Jason Vargas. He gets $7 million in his first season.

Royals general manager Dayton Moore said that next year’s payroll is expected to match last year’s outlay of roughly $85 million.

To reach Blair Kerkhoff, call 816-234-4730 or send email to bkerkhoff@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/BlairKerkhoff.

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