Tigers, Raburn avoid arbitration with 2-year deal

The Tigers signed left fielder Ryan Raburn to a two-year, $3.4 million contract, taking one more player out of their arbitration concerns and inking an emerging member of their starting lineup just as he emerges as a regular player.
Raburn spent the past few years shuffling between a superutility role and occasional stretches in the starting lineup. After batting .280 last year with 25 doubles, 15 home runs and 62 RBIs in 371 at-bats, though, he’s poised to take the bulk of the playing time in left field and possibly grab a key spot in the top half of the order.
It was somewhat of a surprise deal for Raburn, who turns 30 years old in April and is eligible for arbitration for the first time. Given Detroit’s other contractual commitments and the arbitration cases they had this year, they were expected to hold themselves to one-year deals. And as of a week ago, there supposedly hadn’t been much going on between the two sides.
But as long as the Tigers are committed to keeping Raburn in a big position beyond this year, and they believe he can produce, then there was a financial benefit to signing him for 2012 now rather than let him go to arbitration with a full season of production on his resume.
The move leaves reliever Joel Zumaya and starter Armando Galarraga as the remaining arbitration-eligible Tigers.

8 Comments

Very happy for you, Ryan!

Wow! About $1.7 million per year. High or low? I guess you’d have to find someone with similar stats to know. If Raburn is supposed to be a better second baseman than a left fielder, it’s too bad he can’t be plugged into that spot. I guess there may be too many already fighting for 2nd base- Sizemore, Rhymes, Guillen? A move like that would open left field for Boesch, Wells, Thomas, or someone else. A second baseman with Raburn’s 2010 stats might rank high offensively.

I have always liked Raburn though am surprised management has backed him so strongly given the competition for LF.
With Boesch and Wells front runners for the bench and would not trade them until the extent of their upside is better determined.
I doubt Kelly and Thomas would have an option left between them but between them do not make much of a trade bait without a pitcher thrown into the mix.

There are people, myself included, who have always thought Raburn’s best position was secondbase. While Polanco was here, one can understand Ryan not being plugged in there, but lately the position has been in flux. As you indicate, Illiniofan, leftfield could be opened for others, but I’m thinking a LH hitting outfielder acquired would be a good idea.
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The guy who writes out the lineups has the last word on it, but it’s also Leyland who stuck with Raburn when most folks wanted him banished far away. I just don’t understand why JL became fixated on the utility role and didn’t seem to think of him as a secondsacker.
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At any rate, congratulations to Ryan who finally looks to have made the bigs on an unquestionably permanent basis. Good hitter, good guy.
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–Rich

He’s earned it. Bet the Raburn’s are partying tonight.

Raburn’s signing now give the Tigers at least 4 Left Fielders. Considering how long it has been since we had a bonafide LF that sort of tells you that there is problem. Same could be said about 2B.
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Ryan is a great guy who can sometimes be a very good hitter in spurts. However, he does make more mistakes in the field and on the base paths than one can bee comfortable with. A 2 year contract is a bit of a surprise and perhaps they are thinking that he will back up Inge and play when Inge gets hurt again. I agree that he seems to do best at 2B, but that is a pretty critical position and we need a bit more slickness and dependability there IMO.
I have always thought that the best position for him is at 3B. He has quick hands, and a good arm. He can learn the position well enough to justify him as a corner infielder who can hit. The only way that will happen is if Brandon is unfortunate enough to incur another injury of the serious kind.
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I think Sizemore will likely win the 2B job and Rhymes is probably headed for Toledo. Sizemore looks a bit like a hard-nosed scrapper and I think he will hit up here eventually. Jury is still out on him defensively though.
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GMan looks like he is on the outs. I don’t agree that he doesn;t have much trade value. I think he could be packaged up quite nicely. I think his perfect game will win him some supporters in cities that are looking for a “name” to appease their fans.
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I sure hope Coke can start. If he can’t cut the mustard this team has roation problems all over again.

Value is all about perception. And not just perception of the item being exchanged. Galarraga has some name value from last year. He also has his stat line from last year. They kind of balance each other out. What is really important regarding trade value, though, is the perception of the other teams in baseball regarding G-Man’s status with the Tigers. They know he is unwanted or at least on the outside looking in. They know the Tigers may release him. No one would trade a good prospect for a guy like that. Similar to how you often see the 26th man on the roster coming out of Spring training traded for a far inferior player who simply has an option left…

Good points all. It’s possible we won’t know Galarraga’s worth to the team until ST plays out, and I don’t mean how Armando looks in ST. I mean how Oliver and the other youngsters look, because that’s the backup scenario. If that’s the case, Dombrowski will have to handle the pending arbitration with that in mind. It’s tricky, this one. And we still haven’t seen a trade, which is unusual.
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–Rich

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