Recently, the Detroit Tigers were linked to Maicer Izturis. The Tigers were in the market for a utility infielder capable of handling a lot of playing time if need be, and though the team had earlier expressed interest in re-signing free agent Ramon Santiago, there were concerns that Santiago would be seeking an everyday job. The Pittsburgh Pirates nearly gave him one.
Fast forward to today. Ta-da!
Tigers announce they've re-signed Ramon Santiago. Two-year deal
It's not the most surprising thing ever. Said Santiago in October:
"I really want to come back," Santiago said. "Who wouldn’t want to come back to the Tigers? I love Detroit. I love the fans. I have a lot of friends and I want to come back."
Said Dave Dombrowski in November:
"You look at a guy like Ramon Santiago, who we like and has done a really good job for us, and we would like to have him back," team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said Tuesday.
It looked like there was a decent match, and now the sides have been re-matched. While Santiago won't be handed an everyday job, he will join an infield fraught with uncertainty, so he should play enough, or nearly enough. The Tigers have questions at second, and the Tigers have questions at third - both being positions that Santiago can play.
Santiago is 32 years old, and a switch-hitter, and a half-decent bat with a solid, versatile glove, and blah blah blah. You probably know enough about what Ramon Santiago brings to the table, so now here's a brief selection of Ramon Santiago fun facts for your perusal.
(1) Santiago batted 507 times for the 119-loss 2003 Detroit Tigers. Some other players from that team who remain active: Brandon Inge, Carlos Pena, Andres Torres, Omar Infante, Cody Ross(!), Fernando Rodney, and probably Craig Monroe, although I haven't checked.
(2) Santiago led the 119-loss 2003 Detroit Tigers with 18 sacrifice bunts. He actually led all of baseball that year with 18 sacrifice bunts. Sacrifice in a losing cause is either noble or foolish, and not both.
(3) Santiago was traded to the Seattle Mariners along with Juan Gonzalez in exchange for Carlos Guillen in the most Tigers trade of all time.
(4) Not that Juan Gonzalez
(5) Over Santiago's first 974 plate appearances - nearly half his career total - he posted a 63 OPS+. Since then, beginning in 2008, he's posted a 90 OPS+.
(6) In 2005, while Santiago was playing for the triple-A Tacoma Rainiers and a friend of mine was conducting clubhouse interviews, Santiago gave my friend way too much attitude, and was also driving a Geo.
(7) Santiago faced Nick Bierbrodt two times, which, whoa, remember Nick Bierbrodt?
(8) Santiago's new contract guarantees about four million dollars.