Ramon Santiago started at second base for the second consecutive game this weekend. MLive's Steve Kornacki wonders why. Is there something to be read into this turn of events, especially as they come right in the thick of a battle to decide the team's second baseman? Or, as manager Jim Leyland claims, is there nothing there as he merely rests Scott Sizemore and Will Rhymes?
From Kornacki's article:
Asked about starting Santiago again, Leyland said, "He’s a little shy on at-bats…and it gives them a little bit of a blow. They’ve been playing nine innings every day; Sizemore played 10 one day.
One National League scout, requesting anonymity, said he had not heard of a Santiago trade being discussed. But he added, "That sounds like a showcase for somebody."
Why might Santiago be traded, and where might he go? Kornacki offers up the Phillies, who lack a second baseman until Chase Utley's knee is healthy, and who have suffered from Placido Polanco's hyper-extended elbow as well.
Update: Or are the Phillies in on Luis Castillo instead?
Lee Panas of Tiger Tales weighed in on the issue at his blog tonight too with another possibility.
Citing recent praise by Leyland for utility infielder Danny Worth, Lee wrote:
It sounds to me as if Worth is going to make the team. So, what's "sticking out like a sore thumb?" One thought is that Worth may have passed Sizemore and Rhymes and seized the second base job. If that were the case, then why has Santiago started at second base the last two games? Is he he the new second baseman?
Santiago taking over at second wouldn't be the first infield surprise that Leyland has given us during his tenure.
Santiago, by the way, is batting .364 this spring, with (entering Sunday's game) a .452 OBP and .520 slugging. Not too shabby indeed, and possibly even meaningful if you believe Baseball Info Solutions' findings about spring slugging averages compared to lifetime figures.
Personally, I wasn't set to read too much into this. Actually, I did sort of wonder if Santiago was being given an invitation to compete for Detroit's second base job, given neithernor Scott SIzemore have exactly grabbed the bull by the horns this spring. Like Lee, I could see that happening.
It's spring training. Like Leyland pointed out, Sizemore and Rhymes have both logged a lot of innings lately. There's about one more week's good push to go before the Tigers say the 25-man roster will be decided, there's nothing wrong with giving the competitors a little physical and mental break.
So what is going on in the infield? Anything? Or is this all just idle speculation from writers who are counting down the hours until the games count?