Omar Infante has been the starting second baseman for the Royals ever since signing a four-year, $30 million contract before the 2014 season, but he is not guaranteed a starting role heading into the spring. According to MLB.com writer Jeffrey Flanagan, the Royals will play "the best guys", meaning Infante could find himself competing for a starting job. Infante is being pushed by former first-round pick Christian Colon.
"We'll just evaluate," Moore told MLB.com. "We're going to play the best players. Omar is a terrific second baseman. I know offensively he has not performed the way he has liked or the way we expect him to.
"I just know we're going to put the best team out there each and every night, and I know Omar is capable of being that guy. But we like Christian Colon, too. But you need them all to win, as you know. It's a team, and you count on everyone to perform.
Infante has battled shoulder and elbow injuries the last two years and had surgery back in November. Dayon Moore indicated Infante may not be ready for action at the outset of spring raining, although he should be ready by Opening Day. He has hit just .238/.268/.329 over the last two years, the lowest OPS by any Major League player with at least 750 plate appearances over that time. Infante did enjoy a seven-RBI game in September just before he was shelved for the season with an oblique strain.
The 34-year old Infante does bring good defense to the table, finishing third among second basemen last year in Defensive Runs Above Average. He also has a track record of being a solid hitter, such as in 2013 when he hit .318/.345/.450 with 10 HR 51 RBI for the Tigers. Over the winter, the Royals were said to be shopping Infante, who is owed $18 million, but found no takers.
Christian Colon was the fourth-overall pick by the Royals in the 2010 draft, but has struggled to get playing time at the Major League level. In just 168 career plate appearances, he has hit .303/.361/.382. Colon was demoted most of last season to get playing time in Omaha, limiting him to just 43 games in a Royals uniform. He was on the post-season roster and had the game-winning hit in Game Five of the World Series, his only post-season at-bat. The 26-year old Colon does struggle defensively at times by the eye test, although the defensive metrics say otherwise.