Tigers choose not to tender a contract to 2B Will Rhymes
While the second base position for the Detroit Tigers — one of their expressed positions requiring offseason attention — is shaping up to be all the usual suspects, there’s one less name in the hopper now.
The franchise announced Monday that it was not tendering a contract to Will Rhymes, their 2011 Opening Day starter at the position, making the 28-year-old a free agent.
That leaves utilityman Ramon Santiago — who re-signed with the club for two years at the start of December — and Ryan Raburn as the probable platoon, unless the Tigers make another move.
It’s been a merry-go-round of a position since the Tigers chose not to retain Placido Polanco after the 2009 season. None of the last three players to start the season at second base — Polanco in ’09, Scott Sizemore in ’10 and Rhymes in ’11 — remain on the roster. Six different players have started at the position in two seasons.
The diminutive Rhymes, a career .291 hitter in 633 minor league games, hit .304 in 54 games as an injury replacement at the end of the 2009 season, earning himself a shot at making the big-league club in spring training last year.
He did one better, earning the start on Opening Day, but — thanks to a .206 batting average — lasted just 28 games before the hot-hitting Sizemore took his spot. Rhymes would play in just one more game at the big-league level — a pinch-running cameo in Baltimore in mid-August — before the September call-ups.
Rhymes, who hit .235 for the season with the Tigers, did not make the postseason roster, but he made waves during the playoffs, nonetheless. A late-night post to Twitter during the American League Championship Series, questioning on-the-field moves, may have hastened his departure from the organization, although GM Dave Dombrowski denied that on the record, according to MLive's Chris Iott.
Worth noting: There have been increased social media restrictions on MLB players worked into the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Matthew B. Mowery covers the Tigers for The Oakland Press. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @matthewbmowery. To get updates on the team sent to your phone, text “Tigers” to 22700. *Msg & Data Rates May Apply. Text HELP for help. Text STOP to cancel.