Throughout the 2016-17 offseason, Fish Stripes will be going back over the Top 100 Marlins of all time, from their inception as the Florida Marlins in 1993 through today's incarnation as the Miami Marlins. I used the WAR metric to order all potential members of the list. Today’s Marlin, Omar Infante, earned a 4.3 mark while with the club.
Infante is a 5’11”, 195 lb. infielder from Puerto La Cruz, Anzoategui, Venezuala. Born on the day after Christmas in 1981, he signed on with the Detroit Tigers as an international amateur free agent in 1999.
Infante played his first six major league seasons with the Tigers, making his first appearance in 2002. In 494 games, mostly at second base for Detroit, he hit .253/.298/.386/.683, with 32 home runs, 154 RBI, and 34 stolen bases. After the 2007 campaign, the Tigers traded him to the Chicago Cubs for Jacque Jones. The Cubs flipped him, along with Will Ohman, to the Atlanta Braves for Jose Ascanio.
Infante played three seasons for the Braves, hitting .309/.353/.411/.763 with 13 homers and 114 RBI in 300 contests. He also made the all-star team for the first time in the summer of 2010, at second base. After that season, the Braves traded him with Mike Dunn to the Marlins for Dan Uggla.
Infante manned second base for the Marlins on opening day in 2011, and ended up in 148 contests by the end of the season. He hit .276/.315/.382/.696, hitting a team-second 160 hits, 24 doubles, an NL seventh eight triples, seven homers, an NL-high 17 sacrifice hits, and 49 RBI. He also ranked third in the senior circuit with eight sacrifice flies. Defensively, he led the league with 466 assists, and ranked fifth with 260 putouts. His 14 Zone Runs Saved also led the league, as did his 4.97 range factor.
On August 2nd, Infante solo home runs in the first and fifth inning, then added a single in the eight as the Marlins downed the New York Mets, 4-3. September 9th would see him hit a solo shot in the first, an RBI-double in the second, and a three-run homer in the third inning of a 13-4 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates. On September 19th, Bonifacio broke my calculator by earning a .931 WPA for the game, by hitting a come-from-behind, two-out, two-run walkoff home run to defeat the Braves in glorious fashion, 5-4.
In 2012, the Marlins changed their name from Florida to Miami, but Infante stuck around for 85 games. He hit .287/.312/.442/.754 with 23 doubles, eight home runs, 33 RBI, and 10 stolen bases for the team, playing in all his games at second base.
The month of May was kind to Infante that season, and would see him hit .314 with six three-hit games to his credit. On May 4th, he hit two singles and a double, knocking two in and stealing a base in a 9-8, 12-inning win over the San Diego Padres. Five days later, he hit a 12th inning two-run double to take a two-run lead in a 5-3 win over the Houston Astros. On May 15th, Infante hit four singles with a run scored and two RBI in- 6-2 victory over the Bucs. On July 23rd, just a week before the trading deadline, the Marlins sent him with Anibal Sanchez to the Tigers for Rob Brantly, Brian Flynn and Jacob Turner.
Infante played two seasons in his second stint with Detroit, playing in 182 games and hitting .297 with 14 homers and 71 RBI. He later signed on as a free agent for the Kansas City Royals, and hit .238/.269/.328/.597 in 298 games over three seasons. The Royals waived him in June last season, and the Braves signed then released him soon after that. Last month, he signed on to play for the Tigers for a third time. The Royals are still paying him, $8,000,000 for the 2017 campaign. There’s a good chance that they’ll pay him while he’s playing against them. Talk about hedging your bets...
Check back later for our next Fish on the list, Chris Volstad.