The 32-year-old infielder will split that salary right down the middle for each of the next two seasons, and might even get the extra playing time he's been after. That lack of playing time was part of the reason free agency didn't work out so well for him: no one was willing to offer him more time at the plate and fellow infielder Carlos Guillen will not likely be returning to the Tigers next season. However, since Ryan Raburn will be around in 2012, it looks like Santiago will have to share the middle infield anyway.
Santiago batted .260 with five homers and 30 RBI over 101 games with Detroit last season, which may or may not warrant a $750,000 raise. However, the second half of the season must have been fresh in the minds of Detroit brass since he batted .295 after the All-Star break to help lead the Tigers to the postseason. Then there's the business of how he played at second.
While Santiago has played a lot of short stop in his 10 big league seasons, last year he was also part of a four-man rotation at second base, batting .289 in 75 games starting there. But regardless of where he played or how he played, manager Jim Leyland says he's the most well-liked guy in the clubhouse:
"With his teammates, he could be the most popular player we have. I'm thrilled to have him back. He's happy with what he got and feels we were fair, and we're happy with what we gave him. It doesn't get any better than that. This is a situation in which everybody wins."