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?