Omar Rafael Infante
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 9", Weight 150 lb.
- Debut September 7, 2002
- Final Game June 6, 2016
- Born December 26, 1981 in Puerto la Cruz, Anzoategui, Venezuela
On April 15, 2012, Omar had the distinction of being the first member of the Miami Marlins to homer in the team's new ballpark, Marlins Park. By going deep off the Houston Astros' J.A. Happ in the 2nd inning of the Marlins' fourth home game of the year, he became the first batter to set off the gaudy mechanical flamingoes sculpture in the park's outfield. It capped an unlikely power surge by Omar, as it was already his fourth long ball of the year, after hitting 7 in 2011 and 8 in 2010. He hit .287 in 85 games for Miami, with 23 doubles and 8 homers, before being traded on July 23rd to the Detroit Tigers alongside P Anibal Sanchez in return for three prospects led by P Jacob Turner. The Tigers, while in first place, had struggled to find production from their second basemen, as Ramon Santiago and Ryan Raburn had only combined for a .201 average at that point. He took over as the full-time second baseman for the remainder of the season and provided a measure of stability by hitting .257 with 7 doubles, 5 triples and 4 homers over 64 games. He went 6 for 17 (.353) in the ALDS as the Tigers defeated the Oakland Athletics, then 4 for 18 (.222) in a four-game sweep of the New York Yankees in the ALCS. In the 2012 World Series against the San Francisco Giants, he was one of the Tigers' few productive hitters, going 5 for 15 from the 9th spot in the batting order. However, he did not score or drive in a run as the Tigers were swept, and in the bottom of the 9th inning in Game 4 had his wrist broken by a Santiago Casilla fastball. Thus, he was no longer on the field when the Giants' scored the Series-winning run in the top of the 10th inning.
Infante was 4 for 9 with 2 doubles, 2 runs and a RBI as one of the Venezuelan national team's top performers in the 2013 World Baseball Classic; only Martin Prado had a better OPS while stars like Miguel Cabrera and Carlos Gonzalez were lower. He was used at DH because his 2012 World Series counterpart, Marco Scutaro, started at 2B.
Infante was fully recovered by the start of the 2013 season. On July 3rd, however, he hurt his knee when he was bowled over by the Toronto Blue Jays' Colby Rasmus at second base. With the All-Star Game coming up shortly, the Tigers decided to place him on the 15-day disabled list, even though he would not normally have been out that long. He ended up playing 118 games as the team's main second baseman. He hit a solid .318, with a .345 OBP and a .450 slugging percentage, good for an OPS+ of 113. He added 24 doubles and 10 homers, scored 54 runs and drove in 50 in his best overall season as a big leaguer. In the postseason, he went 4 for 18 (.222) in the ALDS against the Oakland A's and 4 for 21 (.190) in the ALCS against the Boston Red Sox. He became a free agent after the season, and it was clear there was no place for him with the Tigers, as they had acquired All-Star 2B Ian Kinsler in a trade. On December 13th, he signed a four-year contract with the Kansas City Royals, where the team had identified the lack of a productive player at second base as one of the hurdles to be overcome in order to make the postseason. The deal was worth $30.25 million.
Infante had a middling first season with the Royals in 2014, as he hit .252 with 6 homers and 66 RBIs in 135 games. The Royals did break their three-decade-long postseason drought that year however, and Infante started at second base all the way until Game 7 of the World Series. He went 2-for-5 in the Wild Card Game against the Oakland A's, then was hitless in 11 at-bats as the Royals swept the Los Angeles Angels in the Division Series. He hit better in the next two rounds, however, .308 in the ALCS against the Baltimore Orioles and .318 with 3 doubles and a homer in the Series as the Royals bowed to the San Francisco Giants after giving them a very tough fight. He was back starting in 2015, but his offensive production fell to embarrassing levels. By mid-season, he was batting below .200 but leading the voting for the All-Star Game as Kansas City fans were guilty of old-fashioned ballot stuffing. He bounced back to finish at .220 in 124 games, but late in the season, he was sidelined by an injury and the Royals acquired utility player Ben Zobrist in a trade and installed him as their starter at second base, a move that turned out to be brilliant as Zobrist was one of the main contributors to a World Series title. For his part, Omar did not play at all in the postseason even though he got a ring. In 2016, he continued to struggle with injuries and gradually lost playing time to rookie Whit Merrifield. On June 15th, he was designated for assignment. He was hitting .239 with no homers and 11 RBIs at the time. He then cleared waivers and was officially released by the Royals on June 23rd, meaning Kansas City ate the remaining $14.7 million remaining on his contract.
- NL All-Star (2010)
- Won a World Series with the Kansas City Royals in 2015 (he did not play in the World Series)