Cincinnati Reds sign Ramon Santiago to a minor league deal Doug Gray January 30, 2014 4 Comments The biggest news in Reds land yesterday was their signing of Ramon Santiago to a minor league deal. Santiago will be 34 years old and has spent most of his career with the Tigers. If Santiago breaks camp with the big league club his deal becomes a $1.1M deal. His OPS+ over the last two seasons is 55. That’s 45% worse than league average. To be perfectly fair, he goes to the plate swinging one of those floating pool noddle things at this point in his career. He does bring some defensive abilities and flexibility though as he can play second, third and short. As likely the only true shortstop defender aside from Zack Cozart who will be in camp, if the Reds want a true shortstop on the roster, Santiago is almost a guarantee to make the roster. But I have to question how much they need a guy like that on the roster. The Reds team is likely to be offensively challenged in 2014. Is an absolute, no question weak bat worth keeping on the big league roster as an insurance policy in case there is an injury? I would rather carry someone with a bat on the bench who can cover you twice a month at shortstop to give Cozart rest and carry a real shortstop at Louisville that could be called up if Cozart were to be injured. Stashing him at Louisville, if he will allow it (and if he won’t, there will be waiver pick ups available who can play shortstop and can’t hit a lick) makes the Reds better and saves them money. It just seems like the safe bet to me. What do you guys think? 4 Responses RMR January 30, 2014 I’m with you, Doug. That said, based on who’s already been signed/in the the minors, who is your 25th man right now? Henry Rodriguez hasn’t exactly done anything to inspire confidence. Lutz needs regular PA. Jason Bourgeois is basically the OF version of Santiago. Chris Nelson has a little pop, I guess. But you get the idea. The only guy in the org who qualifies as anything like a real viable “full-time PH” type is Mike Hessman — or may the Puerto Rican version, Neftali Soto. Now that I think about it, that would be fun. Hessman for backup IF! Doug Gray January 30, 2014 I would much rather it be a guy like Hernan Iribarren, who somehow hasn’t been invited to ST yet or Chris Nelson than this guy. There is at least something with the bat there and both guys can cover off days for Cozart. Alan Horn January 30, 2014 My sentiments also Doug. Place him at AAA until we need him. I also agree on we need all the offense we can get. Krozley January 30, 2014 This happened last year with Donald and Izturis. It is a waste of a roster spot to have both Hannahan and Santiago (two backup infielders who can’t hit). They can go with Nelson and if he fails, take your choice of no-hit shortstops with Argenis Diaz, Negron, or someone like Santiago. Even better would be to have Hannahan or BP cover Cozart occasionally and add a stronger bat to the roster from any position (maybe Soto, Perez, or HRod). By the way, Hessman is now in the Tigers organization.