Toronto Blue Jays sign IF Ramon Santiago
The Toronto Blue Jays have awoken from a long winter’s nap, signing veteran infielder Ramon Santiago with their second move of the day. The Jays also added reliever Ronald Belisario to their bullpen competition earlier today. Santiago will join the Toronto Blue Jays on a Minor League deal of his own, and jump into the crowded battle for a reserve infield spot.
Entering his 14th MLB season, Ramon Santiago played a reserve role for the Cincinnati Reds last season after an eight-year stint as a member of the Detroit Tigers. Santiago is a relatively solid player across the board, albeit fairly underwhelming, but he lacks a dominant trait in his game. His consistency and versatility has kept his career alive much longer than many players with his level of talent, but he has only managed to top 300 plate appearances twice. According to Mike Wilner of Sportsnet, Santiago will make $1.1M if he makes the club.
Santiago’s splits are nearly identical, so the Toronto Blue Jays likely don’t see him in any form of platoon like they do with the lefty-mashing Danny Valencia. Instead, it could be Santiago’s ability to play shortstop that drew the eye of Alex Anthopolous.
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Ryan Goins is currently the only player on the 40-man roster who the Blue Jays would be comfortable with at SS, but his bat in utterly non-existent. While Santiago is aging and could be due for a slight regression, he has played some reliable defense throughout the infield, appearing in 455 career games at SS, 291 at 2B and 53 at 3B.
He now joins the group of Goins, Valencia, Munenori Kawasaki, Maicer Izturis, Devon Travis, Steven Tolleson, Justin Smoak, Chris Colabello and some possible additions yet to come. After the fourth outfielder and catching situations are smoothed over, this group will need to provide a starting second baseman, a utility infielder and perhaps a bench bat.
While Santiago offers little reason to leap from your chair in excitement, I’m of the belief that (almost) all Minor League signings are good signings. There is very little risk involved, and if he can provide the Blue Jays with quality middle-infield depth at some level in the organization, then this could be a quality, albeit very small, addition.