Dec 16, 2009, 5:05 PM EDT
As if losing Roy Halladay wasn’t bad enough, another potential 2010-11 free agent went off the board on Wednesday, as the Tigers signed shortstop Ramon Santiago to a two-year, $2.5 million deal.
The 30-year-old Santiago would have been eligible for major league free agency for the next time next winter.
Santiago hit .267/.318/.386 with a career-high seven homers and 35 RBI in 262 at-bats last season. The switch-hitter has had an interesting career. Once a much-hyped prospect at the beginning of the decade, he and Omar Infante were supposed to give the Tigers the double-play combination they had been looking for since the days of Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker.
Santiago, though, hit .243/.306/.365 in 65 games as a 22-year-old rookie in 2002 and .225/.292/.284 in 141 games in 2003. The Tigers then sent him and a fellow young infielder named Juan Gonzalez to the Mariners for Carlos Guillen. It turned out to be one of the most lopsided deals of the decade, and that would have been the case even if Santiago hadn’t returned to the Tigers as a minor league free agent prior to the 2006 season and turned into a nifty little utilityman.
With light-hitting Adam Everett still manning shortstop and rookie Scott Sizemore taking over at second base, Santiago should again have a significant role next season. He’s not as rangy as he once was, but his glove remains adequate at both infield spots. $1.25 million per year was a fair price for his services.
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