Carlos Guillen’s slower than expected recovery from knee surgery has opened the door for Scott Sizemore and Will Rhymes to compete for the Tigers’ starting job at second base, but Jason Beck of MLB.com writes that Ryan Raburn has emerged as a contender for the gig as well.
Raburn has never started more than 15 games in a season at second base and his defense there would likely be pretty ugly as an everyday player, but he has logged 377 career innings at the position and brings a lot more offensive upside than Sizemore or Rhymes.
Trading defense for offense certainly isn’t a decision unique to Detroit, but I’m not sure the Tigers really need to be doing that after adding Victor Martinez to a Miguel Cabrera-led lineup that was solidly above average in 2010. By playing Jhonny Peralta at shortstop they’re already committing to one sub par middle infield glove and pairing him with Raburn could be pretty ugly for a pitching staff that induced an above-average number of ground balls last year.
The Brewers reportedly signed third baseman Mike Moustakas to a one-year, $10 million contract on Sunday. While the deal is not yet official, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers plan to give Moustakas a look at second base during spring training. If all goes well, he will be the primary second baseman and Travis Shaw will stay at third base.
The initial thought was that Moustakas would simply take over at third base for the more versatile Shaw. Moustakas has spent 8,035 of his career defensive innings at third base, 35 innings at first base, and none at second. In fact, he has never played second base as a pro player. Shaw, meanwhile, has spent 268 of his 4,073 1/3 defensive innings in the majors at second base and played there as recently as October.
This is certainly an interesting wrinkle to signing Moustakas, who is a decent third baseman. He was victimized by another slow free agent market, not signing until March last year on a $6.5 million deal with a $15 million mutual option for this season. That option was declined, obviously, and he ended up signing for $5 million cheaper here in February as the Brewers waited him out. Notably, Moustakas did not have qualifying offer compensation attached to him this time around.
Last season, between the Royals and Brewers, the 30-year-old Moustakas hit .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs and 95 RBI in 635 plate appearances.