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.
Over the past several weeks we’ve heard a lot of news about teams furloughing front office and scouting staff, leveling pay cuts for those who remain and, most recently, ceasing stipends to minor league players and releasing them en masse. The message being sent, intentionally or otherwise, is that baseball teams are feeling the pinch.
The Kansas City Royals, however, are a different story.
Jon Heyman reported this afternoon that the Royals are paying their minor leaguers through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended, and unlike so many other teams, they are not releasing players either. Jeff Passan, meanwhile, reports that the Royals will not lay any team employees off or furlough anyone. “Nearly 150 employees will not take pay cuts,” he says, though “higher-level employees will take tiered cuts.” Passan adds that the organization intends to restore the lost pay due to those higher-level employees in the future when revenue ramps back up, making them whole.
While baseball finances are murky at best and opaque in most instances, most people agree that the Royals are one of the lower-revenue franchises in the game. They are also near the bottom as far as franchise value goes. Finally, they have the newest ownership group in all of baseball, which means that the group almost certainly has a lot of debt and very little if any equity in the franchise. Any way you slice it, cashflow is likely tighter in Kansas City than almost anywhere else.
Yet the Royals are paying minor leaguers and front office employees while a great number of other teams are not. What’s their excuse?