Mariners Insider

Ramon Santiago was Mariners mistake times three

Post by Larry Larue / The News Tribune on Oct. 13, 2011 at 9:49 am with 8 Comments »
October 13, 2011 9:50 am
Ramon Saniago: Wasted in Seattle, beloved in Detroit

Watching infielder Ramon Santiago play post-season baseball with the Detroit Tigers is a double-edged emotional experience for most Seattle Mariners fans.

Of all the mistakes made by general manager Bill Bavasi - fill in your own favorite  here – Santiago was among them. Not once, not twice, but three times.

In 2004, weary of his constant injuries, the Mariners sent infielder Carlos Guillen to Detroit for Santiago and a minor league player. Guillen is still playing although, and cue the ironic music, he hasn’t played in the post-season because of injury. Still, that deal gained the Mariners nothing.

Why not? Well, the next spring, Santiago proved to be a quick, sure-handed shortstop whose bat was a little light but could do most anything with it, from bunting to hitting behind the runner. Teammates embraced him, fans liked him. Two days before the ’05 season began, Bavasi signed utility infielder Wilson Valdez – and sent Santiago to the minors.

The move didn’t go over well in the clubhouse, and after 42 games – and a .198 batting average – Valdez was released. Santiago played only eight games with Seattle that year. Valdez was Bavasi’s second misake with Santiago.

His third? Releasing Santiago in the winter of ’05, after which the Tigers signed him and have kept him ever since.

Valdez is still in the majors and has played 291 games since leaving Seattle. Last year he played for the Phillies. Santiago, meanwhile, has played 439 games since ’05. Not counting the post-season.

  • Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel suggested his team needed an upgrade at third base. While that may be true, Philadelphia has Placido Polanco under contract for $6.25 million in 2012. Ouch.
  • Boston’s disastrous September cost the Red Sox a post-season berth, and their October hasn’t been much better. General manager Theo Epstein, who guided the sSox to a pair of World Championships, is now on his way to the Chicago Cubs. And now, free agent David Ortiz says there was ‘too much drama’ in Boston and he will look for a deal elsewhere – maybe even with the New York Yankees. Double ouch!
  • MLB Advanced Media, the interactive arm of baseball, had quietly given broadcaster Glenn Beck to sream his shows online. Now, a group called Americans United for Change has launched a website - Strike Out Beck - where you can sign a petition asking MLB to cut ties with Beck, and view video of what the group calls Beck’s Hall of Hate. Yikes!
  • Another story that indicates baseball may have no shame: They’ve licensed Eternal Image, which now sells MLB cremation caskets. “Our Major League Baseball cremation caskets provide customers with a complete package for their loved one’s cremation service when paired with our already popular Major League Baseball urns,” said Nick Popravsky, VP of Sales & Marketing. “All thirty team caskets are available for order.” Anyone else find that creepy?
  • ML would love to balance the National and American League, and with the sale of the Houston Astros, there’s speculation online and elsewhere that Houston will leave the 16-team NL and join the 14 team AL as a member of the AL West. It’s makes no geogaphic sense, but this is baseball.
  • Utility infielder and good guy Adam Kennedy has plead guilty to charges of driving under the influence in California and was sentence to three years probabation. The case stemmed from a January arrest, and Kennedy – a first-time offender – will attend a mandatory three-month alcohol class.
Leave a comment Comments → 8
  1. nonstopjoe says:

    Conehead’s mistakes continue to dog the Mariners – which should come as no surprise inasmuch as there were so many of them.

  2. What in the heck is MLB doing with Beck? That is disgusting. Beck makes Hank Jr look like an intelligent sweetheart by comparison.

    Bavasi may have been one of the top 10 worst gm’s in the current basebal era.

    I hope Z doesn’t make too many more mistakes, though.

  3. roastbeef253 says:

    Well, having Houston join the AL West doesn’t sound like as bad of a geographical idea when you consider that we already have 1 other Team in Texas as part of the AL West. That would make for one insane rivalry though down in Texas.

  4. When you’re in Seattle, no other major league baseball team makes geographic sense. That’s one of our problems. When there are teams in Vancouver BC and Portland, we’ll have a gripe about being in the same division with Texas teams. After all, San Diego is the M’s “natural rival”. Makes the head spin.

    As for Glenn Beck, in my opinion, it makes no sense for MLB to line up in any way with Glenn Beck, Keith Olbermann, or anyone anywhere in between who is a regular political commentator. We turn to sports to get away from that stuff…well, at least I do.

  5. I think we are jumping a little bit overboard with the (current) evaluation of Ramon Martinez’s talents. 439 games since ’05? That’s 73 games per season…hardly the stuff that legends are made of. He is a career backup middle infielder, and if Carlos Guillen was healthy right now he would be where he belongs, on the bench. He’s not a bad player, but hardly a superstar, and not even an everyday ML player.

    Should Bavasi have released him? Probably not a great idea, but hardly the worst thing Bavasi did here. In reality, would you rather have Martinez as your SS right now over Brendan Ryan? Or at 2B over Ackley? Didn’t think so. As for trading Guillen away for Martinez and a prospect…meh. Guillen has had a couple good years, but is ALWAYS hurt.

    Yuniesky Betancourt is also playing in this post-season, and put up pretty good numbers this year. That fact doesn’t make me any less happy about no longer having him anywhere near a Mariners uniform.

  6. tribescribe says:

    Bavasi dealt away Carlos Guillen, Asdrubal Cabrera, Shin-Soo Choo, and Adam Jones, but Ramon Santiago is the one who got away? Santiago, owner of a .674 OPS in AAA?

    The last thing these Mariners need is another light-hitting, slick-fielding SS who can bunt a little and hit behind the runner, no matter how freaking charming he may be.

  7. Brigadeer go away. I did not attack you personally as you did to me.

  8. Great article by Mr. Larue. The ghosts of the Bavasi Blunders continue to haunt the Mariners and Larue is quick to bust them and call them out. Great institutional memory, Larue.

    I would also like to point out that Ramon Santiago was selected as the 2005 Tacoma Rainiers MVP as well as the 2005 Tacoma Rainiers Golden Glove. I guess Bavasi didn’t keep track of such “insignificant details” when he decided not to keep Santi on the 40 man roster after the end of the 2005 season. Bavasi was obviously on the wrong seat in the bus.

    It worked out well for Santiago. After leaving Tacoma, he got to play in a World Series and two playoff series.

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