The Pittsburgh Pirates have interest in free-agent Ramon Santiago as a potential everyday shortstop in 2012, major-league sources told FOXSports.com.
Santiago maintained a .685 OPS for the Detroit Tigers over the past three seasons while averaging roughly 100 games played per year. He’s regarded as a sure-handed defender at second base and shortstop. The 32-year-old has become immensely popular with his teammates in Detroit because of his leadership and confident, easygoing demeanor.
Santiago became Detroit’s regular second baseman during the postseason this year, batting .289 with two RBI in 10 games.
The Tigers have a considerable amount of uncertainty with their infield this offseason; the only sure things seem to be that Miguel Cabrera will start at first base and Jhonny Peralta will play shortstop or third.
— Jon Paul Morosi
Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik has whiffed on some big contracts – four years, $36 million for free-agent third baseman Chone Figgins, two years, $10 million for second baseman Jack Wilson – but a number of his lesser deals are looking good.
Free-agent catcher Miguel Olivo (two years, $7 million) and designated hitter Jack Cust (one year, $2.5 million) have played significant roles during the team’s 12-3 run. So have second baseman Adam Kennedy (one year, $750,000) and shortstop Brendan Ryan (two years, $2.75 million after arriving in a trade from the Cardinals).
The energetic Ryan didn’t quite fit in the staid St. Louis clubhouse, but Zduriencik attributed the infielder’s offensive dropoff last season to the surgery he underwent on his right wrist shortly before spring training. The Mariners liked the idea of getting an elite defender who was under club control for three years, especially when the price was only Class A pitcher Mikael Cleto.
Ryan is hitting, too, at least by the feeble standards of a team that ranks next-to-last in the AL in runs. Entering Wednesday’s play, Ryan ranked third on the club with a .700 OPS. Kennedy was second at .755. First baseman Justin Smoak, the principal piece that Zduriencik obtained for Cliff Lee, led the club at .825.
Kennedy, like Ryan, is a former member of the Cardinals. He offered a left-handed bat and the ability to contribute at second, third and DH. He has been playing mostly second, and the Mariners will need to figure out how to keep him in the lineup once they promote Dustin Ackley.
“I almost signed (Kennedy) two years ago when he signed with Washington,” Zduriencik said. “I regretted not doing it. When he was available again, it was easy.”
Kennedy, Ryan, Olivo, Cust.
Without them, the Mariners would be buried.
Ichiro is fighting through a career-worst offensive season. Figgins has the lowest OPS in the AL. Yet, the Mariners are only a half-game out in the AL West.
The M’s, of course, are doing it with pitching – they’re second in the AL with a 3.39 ERA. Yet scouts find even the performance of their bullpen to be somewhat mysterious.
One scout, referring to righties David Pauley (0.84 ERA) and Aaron Laffey (1.78) says, “You go to 10 scouts, and nine or maybe 10 will tell you that you don’t want those guys on your staff.”
PHOENIX – Commissioner Bud Selig touched on baseball’s labor situation and a variety of other topics during a visit to the press box at the Brewers’ spring-training facility Saturday:
• On his reaction to the NFL lockout: “The 90s were painful for us, really painful. Painful for me, but painful for the sport.
“I sort of replayed in my mind the last few days what happened in ’94. We had this horrendous work-stoppage record. I often said (it was) the worst labor history known to anybody. Strikes in ’72, ’75, ’76, ’80, ’81, ’85, ’90 and ’94.
“They’ve gone through some of that. They’re going to go through it now. You have to go through it to understand really how painful it is. I’m not sure people understand that. People find fault with both sides, the commissioner. When you have substantial differences, this is what happens.”
• On whether the lack of rancor between the owners and players in baseball is a positive sign with the labor agreement set to expire at the end of the season:
“I’m always a devotee of the Yogi Berra school: It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.
“When I think back to my early years in baseball and the public posturing that went on, it turned out it was a pretty accurate barometer of what really happened. Owners ripping owners. Owners ripping the union. The union fighting back. The commissioner is in the middle.
“I’m proud . . . we’ve stopped all that. It helps. It helps to have a constructive dialogue. And that’s what we’re going to try to continue to do.”
• On the details from the police report on Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera:
“One is never happy when they read that. But I want to say — I have to give the Tigers credit. And our own doctors. Our own doctors were there, specialists in that area. They felt they handled it the right way. And I think they did.
“The Tigers have been extremely cooperative. They’re going to give him a lot of help. Somebody will be with him most of the time. Hopefully that will help the situation.”
— Ken Rosenthal