Detroit Tigers' Ramon Santiago Deserves an Every-Day Role

Matt SCorrespondent IApril 9, 2009

LAKELAND, FL - MARCH 05:  Ramon Santiago #39 of the Detroit Tigers throws to 1st base during a spring training game against the Washington Nationals at Joker Marchant Stadium on March 5, 2009 in Lakeland, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

The Detroit Tigers' Ramon Santiago got the start at shortstop on Wednesday, giving Adam Everett a day off. That got me thinking:

"Why don't they play him every day?"

The Tigers signed Adam Everett this offseason to fill a hole at shortstop. Although he's not known for his bat, Everett brings the leather to the ballpark and each game serves as a very solid defensive player.

But Ramon Santiago is also a very solid defensive shortstop.

Is Everett really any better than Santiago?

In 48 games with Minnesota last season, Everett posted a 0.967 fielding percentage.

Santiago posted a 0.975 fielding percentage at short and a 1.000 fielding percentage at second in 58 total games with Detroit.

Santiago (.975) only trails Everett (.976) by a single point in career fielding percentage. That's one error in a thousand chances, so no one can argue there's much difference on defense.

Offensively, Everett is a .245 career hitter and hit just .213 last year and .232 the year before.

Santiago, on the other hand, is coming off of his two best years: He hit .282 in 2008 and .284 in 2007. His career average (.238) is slightly lower than Everett's, but he seems to be improving with the bat.

Santiago has only once had a full-time starter's role, and that was back in 2003. But he has certainly matured as a player since then.

Could he hit .280 if he were on the field with decent frequency? Why don't the Tigers give him a shot?

The best player should play.

Right now, I am not convinced that Adam Everett is better than Ramon Santiago.