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IFallsRon

What could the Tigers be thinking?

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In a move that appears to signal a commitment to playing Felix Pie in center field, the Cubs are on the verge of dealing Jacque Jones to the Detroit Tigers for the versatile Omar Infante.

Infante, last an everyday player with Detroit in 2004, is a right-handed hitter and considered adequate in center field. He started 10 games there in 2007, keeping Curtis Granderson from having to play against the toughest left-handed pitchers. That would figure to be his role with the Cubs, who still dream of Pie developing into a player of Granderson’s caliber.

Jones is entering the final season of his three-year contract with the Cubs. He has been inconsistent during the last two seasons but emerged as a contributor after being moved from right field to center last season.

Infante is eligible for arbitration after a season in which he hit .271 with a .307 on-base percentage and .355 slugging average in 66 games. The Cubs still would figure to save almost $3 million in the deal, unless they are also sending some cash to Detroit. That was unclear on Monday morning when reports of the deal surfaced.

The Cubs have made Pie’s development a focal point of their winter. Hitting coach Gerald Perry traveled to the Dominican Republic to work exclusively with Pie, and Lou Piniella is planning a trip later in the winter.

The apparent decision to move Jones comes at a time when the Cubs are seeking a left-handed-hitting right fielder. He was in that role in 2006 but did not play as expected at the plate or in the field, where his throwing arm allowed opponents to run with impunity.

The Cubs have been exploring a deal with Japanese free agent Kosuke Fukudome, who has played center field in Japan. They are believed to have more interest in him in right field, however. They ended last season with Cliff Floyd and Matt Murton platooning in right, and neither is a true right fielder. Floyd filed for free agency and is not expected to re-sign.

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they are thinking give up nothing and get a slightly above average free swinging back-up left fielder in the last year of his contract

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You got it.

What is IfallsRon thinking????

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