Ryan Raburn is 31 years old with 1,632 plate appearances and a .750 OPS in the majors, but a brutal start this season has him back at Triple-A.
Detroit decided it had seen enough after Raburn hit just .146 with an ugly 35/8 K/BB ratio in 37 games split between second base and the outfield, demoting the veteran making $2.1 million this season.
Manager Jim Leyland stressed to Jason Beck of MLB.com that “this is not a punishment” for Raburn and added that “we have to try to get him going.”
Beck reports that Ramon Santiago and Danny Worth will likely share second base duties in Raburn’s absence and the Tigers called up journeyman catcher Omir Santos from Triple-A to fill his roster spot.
This isn’t the first time Raburn’s slow start has led to the Tigers sending him to the minors, and in the past he’s generally responded well to the temporary demotions. Or as Raburn put it: “It’s just a matter of getting it going and getting back.”
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.