Ramon Santiago signs 2 year deal

The Tigers announced that they have signed Ramon Santiago to a 2 year contract. Santiago has 5.095 years of service time meaning that the contract secures him through his club control years.

I’m a little surprised to see a 2 year deal for Santiago who is essentially a utility player. Terms weren’t announced, but Santiago made $825,000 last year meaning this deal will probably pay him a little over $1 million each of the next 2 seasons. Santiago is an average-ish defender who showed some surprising power the last 2 years. He was a .5 WAR player last year and a 1 WAR player the year before.

The Tigers avoid arbitration with Santiago and have 13 of their 40 players signed for 2010.

Image credit: DanCox on flickr


  1. RPS

    December 16, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    Very much like this. I was very afraid of losing him and Seay in a real salary purge. Durable, cheap, and above replacement level is great for your backup SS/2B.

  2. ij

    December 16, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    His bunt-slide single in the Twins playoff game won me over…the guy isnt uber talented, but he plays with his heart….and has come through when we needed it several times.

  3. TSE

    December 16, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    Now this is a move I can wholeheartedly accept. Santiago is my kind of baseball player. It would be nice if he could peak a little more at the plate and hit well with more consistency, so hopefully he will climb up a step. And if he does, he can end up being an affordable trading piece for something else later on. I like baseball players that are valued low on money and have shown promise to play better than their historical average. Guys with chances for a big positive variance are subtly valuable to the franchise if they are able to win the coin flip of improving verse regressing. With Everett being a lousy hitter and Sizemore taking over for Polanco, it would seem that Santiago has a great chance for more ABs than when Polanco was here.

    • Andre in Chi

      December 16, 2009 at 3:59 pm

      “Santiago is my kind of baseball player.”

      At least now I know why I disagree with you so much, you could have just said this months ago and saved me a lot of time.

      “It would be nice if he could peak a little more at the plate and hit well with more consistency, so hopefully he will climb up a step.”

      Which players would anybody not say this about? Aside from maybe AL pitchers?

      “I like baseball players that are valued low on money and have shown promise to play better than their historical average.”

      Again, who doesn’t? It would be nice if Santiago was on the side of 30-yrs-old that tends to produce these better than historical averages, but (surprise) he’s not.

      “Guys with chances for a big positive variance are subtly valuable to the franchise if they are able to win the coin flip of improving verse regressing.”

      I mean, this group of words has the appearance of a real thought. It looks to be a sentence: you’ve used real words, spelled them correctly and grouped them sensibly enough so that at first glance there is substance. Yet, like so many of your thoughts, their meaning either can’t be determined or isn’t worth the effort. I feel like the host of the Billy Madison Jeopardy:

      “what you’ve just said… is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul”.

      That is all.

      Edit: Despite my first point, I’m actually ‘aight with the signing.

      • TSE

        December 16, 2009 at 4:32 pm

        Everett and Laird. They have never hit well and show little evidence that they could hit a high variance, cause they have never done it before. Santiago has, and he is a more skillful hitter. Any baseball player can have a great year, but I think the odds that Santiago has a good year are higher than guys like Laird and Everett. They are consistently horrible and don’t flash much promise or potential.

        • Dan

          December 16, 2009 at 4:41 pm

          What has Santiago ever shown? In his age 28 season, he had a career year with an .870 OPS in 124 at bats over 58 games. Last year, he was back to usual with a .704 OPS over 262 at bats.

          I’m guessing almost anyone with a pulse has put up an .800+ OPS over a 100 at bat stretch at some point in their career.

          Santiago is a bad hitter. He has been a bad hitter his entire career. He had a slight blip for a short period of time at what was probably his physical peak (age 28 season). There is no reason to suspect he will ever again greatly exceed his career numbers like he did in 2008. In fact, he’s just as likely to greatly underperform his career numbers which would be scary bad.

          You seem to be impressed by the fact that Santiago had a good stretch of 124 at bats in his career. Considering his age, that isn’t very impressive.

          Hell, Adam Everett tore it up in May last year. Over 66 at bats, he hit .318/.352/.424. Not quite as impressive as Santiago in 2008, but not far off.

        • Andre in Chi

          December 16, 2009 at 5:00 pm

          In mentioning Everett and Laird, I can only assume that you’re responding to this sequence:

          ““It would be nice if he could peak a little more at the plate and hit well with more consistency, so hopefully he will climb up a step.”

          Which players would anybody not say this about?”

          So for you, it wouldn’t be nice to see Everett and Laird peak a little more at the plate?

          While we’re talking about the plate though…

          “Santiago has, and he is a more skillful hitter.”

          Career Numbers (avg/obp/slg):

          Santiago: .244/.312/.338
          Everett: .245/.297/.351
          Laird: .247/.306/.367

          They’re all “consistently horrible” at the plate, but only two of them play superior defense. Normally I would assume that a person would know which two I meant, but as somebody that seemed to think that, of the three, Santiago was a radiant beacon of offense, I can’t take that chance, so I’ll just say that its Everett and Laird.

          • Stormin Norman $

            December 16, 2009 at 6:39 pm

            “Superior defense”…really? Everett? …maybe a few years ago, but not anymore. Everett is a ‘good’ fielding SS, but at 32 he’s lost range and that (along with arm strength) will likely continue to decline… and he did make 14 errors last year.

            RE offense: batting average ‘over the past 4 years’:
            Santiago = .266
            Laird = .249
            Everett = .234

            To me, knocking down Santiago doesn’t make Everett more appealing… but if that works for you – have at it.

            • Stormin Norman $

              December 16, 2009 at 6:59 pm

              I might add that the 14 errors Everett committed were in just 114 game, or one about every 8 games… which would translate to about 20 errors over 162 games, which coincidentally is the number of errors Inge has averaged over the past 3 seasons at 3B… another one of those infielders who is recognized as a “superior fielder” by many… who pay little or no attention to the facts or stats

              • TSE

                December 16, 2009 at 10:18 pm

                Everett also seemed to get some favorable calls last year that didn’t get marked as errors. It’s hard to put a price on that though cause the scoring system is a little screwy and inconsistent.

            • Andre in Chi

              December 16, 2009 at 7:55 pm

              Easy there Schwarzy, I usually avoid confrontations with 4-star generals, however there’s a first time for everything…

              To begin with, I’m not knocking Santiago per se, nor was it my point to show Everett to be more appealing (although imho he is @SS). My point was to expose TSE’s comments as ramblings.

              On to your question of the “superior defense” label:

              Of SS last year with over 300in, Everett was #5 in UZR (although you may pay little or no attention to that particular stat).


              On errors as proof of poor defense:

              Errors are one of those pesky statistics that people who pay attention to facts and stats have learned needs to be taken “in context”. One may make no error on a ball one never reaches. (Cringes) Wiki sums it up nicely:

              “A more subtle, though more significant objection to the error, as sabermetricians have noted, is more conceptual—in order for a fielder to be charged with an error, he must have done something right by being in the correct place to be able to attempt the play. A poor fielder may “avoid” many errors simply by being unable to reach batted or thrown balls that a better fielder could successfully reach. Thus, it is possible that a poor fielder will have fewer errors than an otherwise better fielder.”

              Case in point: Jack Wilson had 12 errors last year, he’s a terrible defensive SS no?

              On your point of their averages over the last 4 years, taken. However, over that same span they have the following combined WAR:

              Santiago = 2.2
              Laird = 3.9
              Everett = 4.8

              So, to recap: I don’t dislike any of these players, I’m glad they resigned both Everett and Santiago as I see them as valuable in their own ways. TSE unwisely chose Laird and Everett as counter-arguments to something I wrote (while additionally misreading his own quote)…but if you read the thread from the start, these things are fairly apparent.

              • TSE

                December 16, 2009 at 10:05 pm

                That’s fine man, I’ll concede that I’m just “rambling” then, you win. I don’t care about that war nor do I understand why it is an important cause for you to fight for, I just care about acknowledging that I like Santiago and I like the signing and control over his rights for a couple seasons.

              • Andre in Chi

                December 16, 2009 at 10:12 pm

                I’m not fighting for WAR (though I think it is a useful metric), and I’ve explained what I was objecting to. I’ll concur with your final point though.

              • Mark L

                December 17, 2009 at 2:18 am

                Personally, I’m still trying to figure out if TSE is Everett, trying to see if he has any real supporters by diminishing himself, or Santiago (with help of a native English speaker).
                Either way, I enjoy his thinking as it goes against the norm and makes things more interesting. He clearly values the bat more than the glove and thinks Everett and Laird don’t belong. OK, I can respect that.
                Thanks for sharing your opinions TSE. It makes all this discussion more fun.

              • TSE

                December 17, 2009 at 2:53 am

                No prob. Maybe sometime we can talk about building a 1,500 run offense for fun!

              • TSE

                December 17, 2009 at 3:10 am

                As far as your comment about valuing the bat, well I have a saying:

                Anybody can field, but not everybody can hit…

                He who can harmoniously balance the value of acquiring baseball talent with the highest ratio of possible rewards can ultimately parlay that advantage into a percentage of juice of increased odds in every baseball game played…

                Furthermore, a team could continue to use a business-minded approach to lock down a dynasty formation of star studded players in the format of a perpetual dynasty that self replenishes. I have a devised a 1-2 / 2-1 system of combining players from one tier to a higher tier and vice versa such that the financial savings would allow for the sustaining of your full star-studded team and a maneuver to go up or down would only need to be done at a rate of one signifcant transaction every 4 seasons plus or minus 1.

                To create a Nintendo analogy of what this would be like, it would be like as if the game of baseball was a single play of Metorid. And all the teams get one full life bar and that’s it to see how far they can go. But in this system you would get to start with full life and 2 full energy tanks, but the kicker is that by the time you would deplete 2 energy tanks worth of fuel, you would be able to find a surplus to refill and get back to 3 whole tanks. So you could always lose up to two levels, yet never be under 1, and always ramp up to a full 3, whereas your competition is max at 1 and no guarantee to stay above zero, with tougher chance at acquiring the next energy tank to be found, as there is a first mover advantage in the market of energy tank acquisitions for they are a scarce resource in very finite quantities.

  4. Vince in MN

    December 16, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    Santiago is a decent cheap spare part, but nothing more. These sorts of fellows have their uses. His greatest value is in his ability to backup both Everett and Sizemore, which could prove to be quite crucial; in the case of Everett I would hope Leyland is willing to PH more late in close games (but I am not holding my breath) and with Sizemore being an unknown quantity, Ramon will likely get quite a few innings in at 2B too. The ocassional PR role could come into play late in games as well. And you pretty much know what kind of production you are going to get. Obviously the signing doesn’t improve the Tigers offensive production, but that problem wasn’t going to be addressed by the infielders anyway. OF, DH and C are the big ? marks.

    • TSE

      December 16, 2009 at 10:12 pm

      In actuality, I’m not as afraid of Everett as some people would think though, just to clear that up. If I inherited the team today and couldn’t sell Everett for something, I still might hold a roster spot for him. It could be useful to have him on the bench as a defensive replacement as well as a pinch bunter. He and Laird are hands down the 2 best bunters on the team, and to have one guy that is a stud bunter can be a useful tool. I hope there isn’t a habit of starting both Laird and Everett at the same time. Although not managing the pinch-bunting tactics correctly is just a sliver of our tactical problems, but still relevant to mention as it is one thing that is a positive for Everett over most other players.

      • Kathy

        December 17, 2009 at 9:43 am

        It’s Laird that has a chance to quote you “make a big positive variance”. at the plate this year. Sure hope it happens. When he does connect, he has power and isn’t afraid to run those bases.

        I understood every word you said, btw!

  5. Keith (Mr. X)

    December 16, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    If we should measure Santiago by his WAR rating then we got him at a bargain.
    2008: 1.2 WAR is = $5.5 MIL,
    2009: .4 WAR = $2 MIL.

    I think the brainpower at Fangraphs do a marvelous job and the WAR method is ingenious, but those WAR Dollars give an unrealistic $ value to the players.

    I know this forum is the wrong place to mention this, but I think there is a slight logical error in the Positional run values.
    Add together:
    DH’s: -17.5 runs
    1B’s : -12.5 runs
    LF : -7.5 runs
    RF: -7.5 runs
    3B: +2.5 runs
    2B: +2.5 runs
    CF: +2.5 runs
    SS: +7.5 runs
    C: + 12.5 runs
    = -17.5 runs
    How can there be a -17.5 run deficit if there is a position adjustment? To make it logically correct, the total probably should be balanced at 0 runs somehow.

    The dollar value of $4.5 MIL per WAR doesn’t seem logically sound either. I know they got the factor from averaging out the yearly free agent contracts / total WAR values.
    Since there is a floor value of around $400k, shouldn’t there be a cap value also? How about using the highest actual salary for a given year as the cap. Each players WAR rating should then be divided by the max WAR rating received that year, which for 2009 would be Zobrist’s 8.6.
    That % would then be multiplied by max salary received for that year, which in 2009 is about $33 MIL. This little tweak would make the WAR dollar values a little more realistic. If they tweaked the position values also, the WAR dollar values would be even more useful.

    • Scottwood

      December 17, 2009 at 3:46 pm

      The -17.5 runs comes from the DH. With the 8 position players on the field, the positional adjustment does equal 0 runs.

      • Keith (Mr. X)

        December 18, 2009 at 12:05 pm

        Perhaps pitchers should get +17.5 runs to balance the adjustment. One way or another, it should all add up to zero.

  6. Coleman

    December 17, 2009 at 1:00 am

    Yep, Everett has made a bunch of errors, but nothing near the amount that the stone-handed, noodle-armed Inge has made…in fact if Inge’s error rate increases just a bit (fld % .976), he’ll drop down into the depths of Brooks Robinson territory (.971)…

    Seriously, I mean Inge may strike out more frequently than any human, and be prone to bad facial hair, but I don’t get why so many people feel compelled to argue that he is crap in the field.

    • Rick G

      December 17, 2009 at 7:27 am

      Don’t forget all that time he wastes in hospitals visiting cancer patients, then just shows off by hitting home runs for them.

      Hate that guy.

    • Stormin Norman $

      December 17, 2009 at 9:26 am

      Inge fielding stats at 3B are actually .958 (big difference from .971 over 23 seasons/Robinson) – but keep loving Mr Inge, and he’ll keep swinging (and missing) at that high heat and chasing outside curve balls in the dirt and thus earning that $400K the Tigers are paying him – oh wait, they’re paying him over $6M to strike out every third AB (as he did last year) and bat a buck-80 in the second half… i’d be doing some off-field PR work also if my on-field production was in-line with Mr. Inge.

      Amusing comparison Inge to Brooks Robinson – kinda like Teixeira to Shelton… after the ‘they both played the same position’, the similarities end… True Robinson was also not a master at the plate, though Robinson’s lifetime avg was .267 vs Inge .236. Oh but Inge has 975 career strike outs to Robinson’s 990 – hey that’s only a difference of 15K’s… nevermind the fact that Robinson’s spans his 23 yr career to Inge’s 9 yrs.

      • Coleman

        December 17, 2009 at 11:29 am

        Yeah, I blew the numbers–I grabbed his career fielding %, not his career 3B fielding %…that’s what happens when you try to look up things on a little iPhone screen. I’ll stick with my point though that just counting errors isn’t going to get you too far as far as judging who is best in the field.

        And you kind of make my point for me again anyway about Inge, but apparently you’re going to insist on the “he’s a bad fielder because he strikes out so much” bit so I’ll leave it.

        • Stormin Norman $

          December 17, 2009 at 12:07 pm

          As i understand it, your point was that Inge’s fielding is on par with (or a little better than) Brooks Robinson… sorry, it’s not.

          Inge is not a ‘bad fielder’, on the contrary he’s a good fielder… my point is, he’s simply not the ‘superior’ fielder many think he is. As for his offensive skills (or lack thereof), his numbers speak louder than anything i could write.

          The Tigers have frequently rewarded (with contract dollars/years and playing time) ‘good guys’ who are OK or not very good ‘players’ and that is part of the reason why they have not won a championship in 25 years. Me personally, i put more weight into what a player does on the field rather than off – and the standings typically follow that same logic.

          • Keith (Mr. X)

            December 17, 2009 at 1:11 pm

            Brooks Robinson vs Inge.
            How many actual games has anyone watched Brooks Robinson play?
            How many games have anyone watched Inge play?
            For me, the score is 0 to 1000 in Inge’s favor.

            • Captain Obvious

              December 17, 2009 at 1:50 pm

              I never seen Brooks Robinson play ball…

              I don’t think that anyone, even the most ardent Inge haters, would say that he isn’t a good defensive 3rd baseman. He is good, perhaps even above average, but is that alone worth the $6.5 million that the Tigers pay him? No…Is it worth it when the Tigers are trading away or not resigning better talent due to financial obligations…again, No.

              At the age of 33, Inge is in decline. His defense is slipping, and his bat is getting worse, not better, despite the atypical first two months last year. I have a feeling that 2010 will not be good to Mr. Inge.

              • Keith (Mr. X)

                December 17, 2009 at 3:18 pm

                Inge has earned his paychecks.
                So far, in the 8 seasons he’s been here, he’s made just $22.6 million. That’s far less than the $36 million that Dean Palmer made in the 5 seasons he spent here. Would anyone be happier if we got another FA, such as Beltre who made $64 million for 5 years? Compared to the alternatives, Inge has been a great value for Detroit over the years. He deserves the $6.5 million that we owe him for 2010.

              • Captain Obvious

                December 17, 2009 at 6:27 pm

                Mr. X – Here is a bet. At the end of next season, Inge will be a FA.

                If Inge can land a contract from the Tigers or any other team that exceeds the 3 yr/$18 million that Polanco landed, I will freely admit that I’m wrong about Mr. Inge’s talents or lack thereof.

                I suspect he will likely get a one/two year deal not unlike Santiago’s or minor league invite.

              • Coleman

                December 17, 2009 at 6:41 pm

                “I don’t think that anyone, even the most ardent Inge haters, would say that he isn’t a good defensive 3rd baseman”

                Except that people often DO, such as Stormin’ Norman above, which is what actually started the conversation:

                “…which would translate to about 20 errors over 162 games, which coincidentally is the number of errors Inge has averaged over the past 3 seasons at 3B… another one of those infielders who is recognized as a “superior fielder” by many… who pay little or no attention to the facts or stats”

                Which applies that Inge is overrated by those who pay little attention to stats, such as number of errors. My point was just that there is more to fielding than counting errors, and pointed out that Brooks made plenty of errors by way of illustration (NOT to imply that Inge was as good as Brooks–context, please!).

                Perhaps a better example would have been that in 2007 Inge was tied for most errors in the AL for 3rd basemen (18)…with Beltre, who won the Gold Glove…

                Inge definitely seems headed to the downside of his career though, and his range will only decline, and that’s assuming he recovers from his two knee surgeries. Here’s hoping it’s a slow decline, and that the Tigers can manage to get hold of a really good 3B prospect.

              • Captain Obvious

                December 17, 2009 at 6:53 pm

                I don’t think that Mr. Norman’s quote below indicates he thinks Inge’s defense is bad.

                “Inge is not a ‘bad fielder’, on the contrary he’s a good fielder… my point is, he’s simply not the ’superior’ fielder many think he is.”

                I tend to agree, that Inge’s defense tends to get overblown to cover for his ineptitude at the plate. He makes some athletic plays and covers some ground, but its not like he’s redefining the position. Inge is a poor man’s Corey Koskie.

                Here’s hoping to next year is Inge’s last as a Tiger.

              • Keith (Mr. X)

                December 18, 2009 at 12:03 pm

                Inge will probably be a nice value again for whoever wants him the most.

              • Joel in Seattle

                December 18, 2009 at 6:52 pm


                Inge is not a good value for the Tigers, any way you slice it. Arguing that other disasters on other teams were worse doesn’t make it better. Crap may be better than diarrhea, but it’s still crap.

                I will appreciate Brandon Inge for the things he has done for the team, but I will never agree that he’s a good value at $6 million a year. Do you think, if he was up for arbitration, he would get anything close to that, based on his performance?

              • Keith (Mr. X)

                December 19, 2009 at 3:22 pm

                He just might. Inge was an All-Star, with 27 HR’s, 84 RBI’s, 71 Runs scored all while hitting 6th or 7th. He was 1 run more productive with his bat than Polanco. His defense was amazing also.
                I’m hoping we get the MVP type of player that Inge was in the 1st half of last season. If he can do what he done in the 1st half for the whole season, then he’ll be one of the best values in the game “any way you slice it”.

                What he did in the 2nd half was terrible though, and not worth MLB minimum.

      • Dan

        December 17, 2009 at 3:51 pm

        swinging and missing?

        Who cares?

        Strikeouts don’t really matter for a batter. Inge isn’t a great hitter, but his .720 OPS last year wasn’t terrible. When you factor in his excellent defense, he is an above average starter at the position in major league baseball.

        • Stormin Norman $

          December 17, 2009 at 4:51 pm

          “Strikeouts don’t really matter” ha?! – with an attitude like that you’d fit in nicely as the Tiger manager or hitting coach – especially when it comes to RISP or a runner at third and less than two outs.

          • Coleman

            December 17, 2009 at 7:01 pm

            Strangely, when it comes to a runner on 3rd less than 2 out suddenly Inge stops being Mr. Strikeout (6 in 58 PA last 2 seasons, or 1 every 9.7 PA…only Polanco is better over the same time frame).

            Granderson is Mr. Strikeout with the runner on 3rd, although I’m not sure how much of that comes from having those opportunities with a lefty on the mound.

            I actually find this aspect of Inge a bit frustrating–if he can not strike out with a runner on 3rd, why the heck doesn’t he take whatever approach he uses then and, you know, try it a bit in other situations?

        • Captain Obvious

          December 17, 2009 at 6:23 pm

          “above average starter at teh position in major league baseball”

          So if this is true, name one team that would trade their 3rd baseman for Inge straight up?

          Considering your comment, I assume there would be multiple teams that would benefit in this scenario.

          • Coleman

            December 17, 2009 at 6:55 pm

            The bar is actually fairly low also if you look at 3B around the league…where have all the good 3B gone?

    • Vince in MN

      December 17, 2009 at 8:32 pm

      Inge may not turn out to be the best or worst Tiger thirdbaseman ever, but he looks to be a lock for the most famous, for no other reason than people refuse to quit arguing over him. In a post of 41 (so far) responses about Santiago, 17 of them have been on Inge – amazing.

  7. Dave T.

    December 17, 2009 at 9:53 am

    I like the fact that even though the Tigers have been burned rewarding players who have played hard and been good teamates, they did the right thing and signed up Ramon for 2 years.

  8. Spike

    December 17, 2009 at 11:30 am

    After wading through several thousand words, it’s clear that everyone agrees that this is a good move. What’s not to like? For a relatively modest price, the Tigers have locked in a dependable player who meets minimum levels of competence in several things while doing nothing well. Teams need players like that.

    It’s obvious that Santiago provides much-needed stability in 2010 as the Tigers try out a rookie at second base. But here’s a question that I have not seen addressed here yet:

    Does the fact that this is a two-year deal tell us anything about what the Tigers might be thinking about at SS next year? Is it possible that DD anticipates trading surplus pitching for a high level SS prospect that Santiago would back up in a similar fashion in 2011?

    • Vince in MN

      December 17, 2009 at 12:43 pm

      Basically I think it is cheap insurance. I imagine (hope) that Everett may not be back next year, since with all the bad contracts coming off the books, DD will likely be investigating an expensive upgrade at that position via FA. As for 2B, if Sizemore is struggling/injured/bombs, the lookahead to 2011 FA market for 2B shows that there won’t be anything much worth persuing there. If Santiago becomes expendable (new stud SS, Sizemore becomes stud 2B, cheaper backup becomes available), then he can always be used as a trade chip. And a 2-year deal for a relatively paltry sum takes away the headache of doing it all over again next winter.

  9. Scott

    December 17, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    Call me Old School, call me a Dino, but I freaking hate OPS and WAR and all this other stuff. Baseball is a game, not a science. I’ve seen thousands of games in my life and I know a good player from a bad one. I don’t need his “replacement value” or some other contrived stat to tell me. Santiago is a decent part-time player who really shouldn’t get more than about 200 at bats (if that) on a good team. Really, does it need to broken down any further?

    • scotsw

      December 18, 2009 at 2:24 am

      The reasons you like baseball are going to differ from the reasons other people like baseball. Some people just like to go and watch — most paying fans probably fit that description. But some people love the stats. Why shouldn’t they talk about those stats? The explosion of baseball statistics over the past few years gives some fans new insights into the game, and into each player’s strengths and weaknesses.

      • Joel in Seattle

        December 18, 2009 at 7:11 pm

        Baseball continues to be a game, regardless of how you want to analyze it. Sabermetric tools are just a way of analyzing the game. If you choose to analyze the game with less informative or reliable methods, go ahead, but with the sums of money going to these players, I really hope that the Tigers front office is using something besides their gut feel and the old eyeball test to make these decisions.

        It’s about seeing what isn’t obvious to everyone, and that’s what sets your analysis (or your GM decision making) apart from everyone else’s.

  10. Coleman

    December 18, 2009 at 1:31 am

    Vince in MN brings up a good point…but being in MN (I assume) he may be missing some subtleties here…like how in December one could be inclined to latch onto ANYTHING Tiger related to bandy about, anything to block out the mind-numbing consciousness of all things Lionish…

    The Inge-ing pattern is pretty standard though. Topic: Santiago…Comment: he’s actually better than Everett….anti-Inge addition: and speaking of which, Inge is pretty lame also…pro-Inge reaction: what are you talking about? Inge can help a pitcher strike guys out by just staring at them…I don’t know what the solution to this is, and I don’t know that one is desirable…because, you know–Lions.

    (Offhand I’n guessing the proportion of Inge-related comments spikes in the off-season…just a guess…only billfer knows for certain…)

    • Vince in MN

      December 18, 2009 at 3:31 am

      Speaking of being out-of-state, I thought you were in California, or was that only a temporary situation. I remember this past summer at one point you were posting from some bar on the west coast while trying to hustle…. oh, never mind.

      The Inge posts never peak. They can, and usually do, arise out of nowhere: “Hey, did you hear Santiago got a two year contract?” “Yeah, that Inge is sure a crappy thirdbaseman!” And the Lions are no excuse. Besides being football (zzzzzzz), they have been so pathetic for so long I can’t understand why anyone pays any attention at all – must be some kind of self-loathing pathology or something.

  11. Scott

    December 18, 2009 at 7:09 am

    My appolgies for being such a crank last night. I enjoy Billfer’s site very much as well as the discussions that go along with it. I shouldn’t criticize stats I don’t fully grasp. Actually, I do remember buying Bill James’ abstract in early or mid 80s. I think stats that are talked about now have evolved since then … don’t remember UZI or WAR ratings back then.

    • Kathy

      December 18, 2009 at 10:30 am

      Geez, we have a guy with some class here. Apology accepted Scott. Being mathematically challenged myself, billfer’s stats and analysis have helped me understand players’ performance. Also, they come in useful when looking at an overall picture of a player’s performance, and comparing them to another player who might play the same position. Another reason why they are good is because the hard data makes people who know nothing about baseball look at some facts. That’s just my simplified version, that I use them for. But I also believe stats don’t tell the whole story, especially when looking at very young players and envisioning what tools a guy might posses. And as we all know, numbers can be manipulated. Not that billfer does, god forbid! Just sayin.

      • Scott

        December 18, 2009 at 1:52 pm

        Thanks, Kathy. Yes, I agree, numbers don’t always tell the whole story. Take Justin Verlander. In 2008, Verlander was awful and performed much below his career averages. But how much of that was him and how much of it was all of the position shifting and nonsense going on behind him? How much does a superior fielder like Laird or Inge help a pitcher like Verlander? Some things are hard to quantify.

        For a hitter, to me the most useful stats are still runs scored and runs batted in. Unless you’re a defensive whiz, you had better come close to one of those numbers as a full-time player or I’m looking to replace you. I actually do like one of the newer stats, too, for pitchers, which is WHIP. Generally, the guys that dominate that stat are the real studs. Not too many flukes.

        • Dan

          December 18, 2009 at 3:27 pm

          Verlander wasn’t awful in 2008. His K rate fell a little from the year before (8.2 to 7.3) and his BB rate increased a little (3.0 to 3.9) and he got a lot more unlucky and got some poor run support. So while he lost a lot of games, he wasn’t pitching that terribly.

          • Scott

            December 18, 2009 at 8:27 pm

            His ERA was nearly 5… for a pitcher of his ability, that’s awful.

  12. jcm

    December 18, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    DD has been surpassed by the Mariners and Cubs GMs