Monday, November 12, 2007

Tigers trade Infante for Jacque Jones

The Tigers have addressed their need for a left fielder and left-handed batter by trading utility player Omar Infante to the Cubs for outfielder Jacque Jones (according to a press release) .The 32 year old Jones batted .285/.335/.400 for the Cubs in 2007. He hit only 5 homers in 2007 but has had 4 20+ home run seasons in the past. Although he hit about the same versus both LHP and RHP in 2007, he generally hits righties much better as evidenced by his career splits:

vs. RHP .294/.342/.483
vs. LHP .233/.281/.355

From what I can gather, he is still a decent fielder with good range but a weak throwing arm. He played more in center field (84 games) and right field (67 games) than left field (2 games) in 2007 but has played a good number of games at each position during his career. His range stats were strong in in 2007:

His had a Fielding Bible +/- of +13 in CF (7th in majors)
His PMR was 104.14 in CF (5th in majors)
His RZR was off the charts in both CF (.925) and RF (.938).

The fans ranked him below average overall in 2006 and 2007 but that was mostly a result of very low scores for his throwing arm. They rated his range as above average.

Infante is a pretty good utility man who can play all over the field but with the presence of Ramon Santiago and Ryan Raburn, he was expendable. He never seemed to be a favorite of Jim Leyland who immediately benched him after an error in 2006 leading to the acquisition of Neifi Perez. He batted .277/.325/.415 in 78 games last year.

Assuming that Jones' 2007 power drought was an aberration (maybe not a safe assumption at his age) and also that Leyland uses him in a platoon, Jones should be a decent acquisition. Jim Leyland has been a bit reluctant to platoon in the past but with Jones' splits and Marcus Thames/Raburn on the bench, I think that a platoon will be in order. The deal likely means that Timo Perez will be the odd man odd out. The projected bench is: Thames, Raburn, Santiago, VanceWilson/Mike Rabelo.

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