After testing the free agent market Ramon Santiago has decided to remain in Detroit, re-signing with the Tigers on a two-year contract.
As the Tigers’ utility man Santiago has averaged just 278 plate appearances during the past four years, but depending on how the rest of the offseason plays out he could get an opportunity for more starts as Detroit’s primary second baseman.
His power is limited and despite switch-hitting he’s much weaker versus righties, but Santiago has hit .266 with a .335 on-base percentage since 2008 and is a plus defender at shortstop and second base.
This has been a good market for utility men and moderately productive middle infielders, as Santiago joins Jamey Carroll, Mark Ellis, Clint Barmes, Willie Bloomquist, and John McDonald in securing two-year contracts.
UPDATE: Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com says the deal is worth about $4 million total, so Santiago is being paid more like a utility man than a starter.
MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers plan to tab ace Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of the World Series. Nothing is set in stone yet ahead of Tuesday’s Game 1 of the World Series. In the event Kershaw can’t start Game 1, Rich Hill would start. Otherwise, Hill would start Game 4.
Kershaw, started Game 1 and Game 5 of the NLCS against the Brewers, then closed out Game 7 with a flawless inning. He was hit around to the tune of five runs (four earned) over three-plus innings in Game 1, but rebounded for seven innings of one-run ball in Game 5. He struck out two en route to sending the Dodgers to the World Series in the ninth inning of Game 7.
Kershaw also tossed eight shutout innings against the Braves in Game 2 of the NLDS. Overall, he has a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings this postseason. There was no doubt who would be the Dodgers’ first choice to start Game 1, but it’s a relatively recent situation where the ace of a team also closed out the final game of the previous series.
Hill has put up a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings this postseason. While he doesn’t have Kershaw’s pedigree, the Dodgers would be confident having him lead off the series. Hill was excellent down the stretch last year, helping the Dodgers reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Astros.
The Red Sox plan to start Chris Sale in Game 1 now that he’s recovered from a brief stint in the hospital due to a stomach ailment. The lefty has a 3.48 in 10 1/3 innings in the playoffs this year. He’s among a handful of candidates for the AL Cy Young award after posting a 2.11 ERA in the regular season, but his lack of innings (158) may hurt him.