Pirates Interested in Ramon Santiago

The Pittsburgh Pirates filled their starting catching position with a defensive option in Rod Barajas yesterday.  Could a defensive option at shortstop be next?  Jon Paul Morosi reports that the Pirates are interested in former Detroit Tigers shortstop Ramon Santiago.  The Pirates are interested in Santiago as an everyday option, according to Morosi.

Santiago is coming off a season where he hit for a .260 average and a .695 OPS.  Over the last three years he’s combined for a .263 average and a .685 OPS.  Defensively, Santiago is strong, with a career 3.6 UZR/150 at the shortstop position.  He’s been great the past two years, with a 10.4 UZR/150 in 2011 and a 16.1 UZR/150 in 2010.

In my preview of the shortstop market, I highlighted Santiago for his defense.  However, I’d question whether he could be a starter.  He only started 62 games in 2011 between second and short, and started 78 games between the two positions in 2010.  My preference at shortstop would be Clint Barmes, who has strong defense throughout his career at short, and an OPS around .700.  Santiago is comparable to Barmes in both areas, although Barmes has shown he can maintain the success over a full season.

Realistically, the Pirates aren’t going to be players for Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins, which means they’re likely to go with a defensive option.  That’s a good strategy considering the ground ball pitchers on the staff, and considering that shortstop is the most important position on the field as far as defense goes.  Santiago would fit that mold.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • Anonymous

    AWESOME!!!!!!!  This off season is shaping up to really be something special.

  • Tacho Bill

    Ramon Santiago + ????? = World Series for sure.

  • Bob Martin

    That would be just another laughable sign in my opinion..

  • john.alcorn

    Please no. Could they really find a player worse than Ronny at SS, apparently yes. You might as well just let Chase, Jordy, and Ciriaco play.

  • Greg Moore

    No. 3 on Ramon Santiago’s similarity scores list on Baseball Reference?

    Ronny Cedeno.

  • Anonymous

    Santiago + Barajas = Big Splash DBN’s was talking about

  • Anonymous

    I know I am probably in the minority but I would like this move. He appears to be an upgrade over Cedeno and not much worse than Barmes, who would be my top choice.

    Having him and Barajas manning the 7th and 8th spots in the lineup would by no means be great but I think it would be serviceable.

    • Anonymous

      Yup, 37 year old catchers and 32 year old career backup middle infielders are clearly the salvation for a team heading into it’s 5th year of a rebuild.

      Look no further than every other free agent acquistion by Huntington to see how this is going to turn out.

      • Anonymous

        I called them 7th and 8th hitters. Give me a team that finds salvation in those spots.

        You mean every free agent acquisition like Jones, Veras, Resop and Dotel. Right there are four solid role players he has brought in through free agency. That is what I am expecting Barajas to be and that is what I would expect Santiago to be.

        No one is saying these two are being brought in to save the franchise. Show me where I or anyone else here said that or just quit spamming this site. 

        • Anonymous

          I didn’t realize it didn’t matter who the Pirates had batting 7th and 8th.  Or that it didn’t matter they had better and younger options in Doumit and Cedeno.

          I should have been more clear, I meant positional player free agents.  And no, Jones does not count as he was a minor league free agent.  So tell me how well Luis Rivas, Chris Gomez, Ramon Vazquez, Eric Hinske, Bobby Crosby, Ryan Church, Matt Diaz and Lyle Overbay worked out for the Pirates.

          Wait, because I’m skeptical of a philosophy that NH has proven to not be effective, I’m spamming the board?  You’re right, I should applaud these wonderful moves as they will be pivotal for another 100 loss Pirate team. Better?

          • Anonymous

            So now we are moving the goal posts. First every free agent was an abject disaster. Now its the non pitchers and guys who were acquired through a certain type of free agency. If you narrow the window small enough of course no one is going to find anybody.

            Again where did I say it didn’t matter who the Pirates had batting 7th and 8th? I said show me a team that gains salvation (is built around) their 7th and 8th hitters. You have failed to do so.

            Cedeno is better than Santiago, really? Over the last 3 seasons Santiago owns a better WAR, OBP, SLG, wOBA, wRC+ and UZR/150.

            As far as catcher I don’t think you or anyone would say Doumit is the better defender of the two or the more durable of the two. Yes Doumit is the better player offensively but how does that help when he isn’t on the field. Before you bring Barajas’s durability problems up he has caught an average of over 200 more innings per season than Doumit (over the last 3 years).

            Again I am not saying these moves are putting the Pirates in the playoffs but that doesn’t mean they are bad moves.

          • Anonymous

            Just to add nothing you have said about NH is spam (you points about him are all valid). What you have said about me is spam. You contributed me with saying Santiago and Barajas are saviors when I clearly said no such thing. That is spam.

  • Jimmy

    This franchise is such a joke.    

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