The Tigers announced today that they will not be tendering 2B Will Rhymes a contract for the 2012 season. This move essentially makes Rhymes a free agent to sign with any club he chooses. Rhymes, after a strong 2010 season in which he hit .304 for the Tigers, was chosen at the start of 2011 by manager Jim Leyland to be the Tigers 2nd baseman. What became clear early on is that the diminutive Rhymes was not going to be able to repeat his success from 2010, and he hit only .235 for the Tigers in 2011.
I do want to make myself clear. Losing Will Rhymes is no big deal to me whatsoever. To me, he is always going to be limited by what he can do. He doesn’t really have a standout tool, but he does have some ability to get on base. Given that the Tigers don’t exactly have the strongest players at 2B going into the 2012 season, I do find the move to non-tender Rhymes a little bit curious. At the very least, I would’ve thought he would be stashed in Toledo in case of injury. I almost feel like Detroit is doing a guy that they like a favor so he can explore other options.
I am beginning to wonder if David Dombrowski’s insistence that he is comfortable with his 2B situation is actually how he feels at this point. A guy that normally plays things really close to the vest, my assumption has always been that he just wants to do his work behind the scenes, and if he doesn’t get something done, he can say he has always had confidence in the guys he has. What was lost by non-tendering Rhymes was just a little bit of depth, although it isn’t depth that couldn’t be easily replaced by a guy like Brandon Douglas or Justin Henry.
The bottom line is, this move is good for Will Rhymes personally. It was clear that he wasn’t going to get much of a chance at playing time in 2012 with the Tigers after they re-signed Ramon Santiago.
Good luck to him. One thing we do know is, Rhymes will definitely give his new team maximum effort.