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Cubs acquire Infante from Tigers for Jones
By Mike Spellman | Daily Herald Staff

Omar Infante played six positions for the Detroit Tigers this year.


Associated Press

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Published: 11/13/2007 12:10 AM

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Farewell, Jacque.

After coming this close to dealing the outfielder to the Florida Marlins at the midpoint of the season before a last-minute nix, the Cubs finally bid adieu to Jacque Jones.

He was traded, along with cash considerations, to the Detroit Tigers for utility man Omar Infante.

The deal, discussed at length during last week's general managers meetings in Orlando, Fla., and finalized late Sunday, ends a bumpy two-year run with the Cubs for Jones, who at times was the target of boo-birds at Wrigley Field.

But the 32-year-old outfielder is leaving on a high note, thanks to a stellar second half (.332 average, 46 RBI) in which he was a key cog in the Cubs' push to the playoffs.

"I'm going from one good team to another, playing for a very good manager," Jones told "I'm excited."

Jones is expected to see plenty of action in left field for manager Jim Leyland and the Tigers.

"Our scouts really like him and how he fits because he's a left-handed hitter that can play all three spots in the outfield," Leyland said. "But I think it was a great trade for both teams because Infante can really help a National League team because he can play short, second, third and in the outfield."

It's just that ability to play all over the field that has Cubs general manager Jim Hendry excited about the acquisition because even though Infante's photo doesn't appear next to the word versatile in the dictionary, it probably should.

The soon-to-be 26-year-old played six positions for the Tigers last season, appearing most often at second base (20).

"He gives us another guy with tremendous versatility," Hendry said. "We wanted to acquire someone who could play a couple of spots, and (Tigers GM/president) Dave Dombrowski was looking for someone to play left field. I think this was good for both clubs."

Other tidbits from Hendry's teleconference:

• He has been speaking with Kerry Wood's agent, Pat Rooney, and is "not too worried" about the prospects of signing the free-agent reliever.

"I don't think we're worried that he's a free agent now," Hendry said. "Kerry was a free agent last year when we signed him. If Kerry wants to be here, he'll know we want him here and we'll work something out."

• There's a new candidate for the Cubs' 2008 outfield derby and his name is … Ronny Cedeno.

"We have asked Ronny Cedeno in winter ball to be prepared to try to play the outfield," said Hendry, who noted that Iowa Cubs manager Buddy Bailey has been working with Cedeno on his outfield skills.

• Just because the plan is to move Ryan Dempster from closer to starter, it doesn't mean Hendry won't still be on the hunt for more quality arms.

"We're going to give Dempster a chance," he said. "I'm not opposed to looking outside (the organization) for more pitching. We never really stop looking for pitching."

• Hendry on whether free-agent Japanese outfielder Kosuke Fukudome could play center field: "He could play anywhere in the outfield for any club."