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.