Quite a bit late on this move, a little late on about everything recently, but after last night’s game Jim Leyland announced that the team was moving Miguel Cabrera to first base full time. This move would in turn move Carlos Guillen from first base over to third base in a change that is much needed. The change is not only a positive move for the defense at third base but also, hopefully, a more solid first base defense.
I’m a fan of this move on its face but this is one change that will need to be monitored as there are a number of ongoing concerns:
- Carlos Guillen’s health – The initial reason for moving Carlos Guillen to first base from shortstop was concern over his health, specifically his knees. This issue prompted the trade of Jair Jurrjens to Atlanta for Edgar Rentaria, a trade that is looking a bit less needed. That said, Carlos’s hamstring is causing him major issues already this year and it won’t heal quickly with constant third-base play.
- Cabrera’s first base defense – Miguel has not had many innings at first base and it might take some time to get use to the role. It was becoming quite apparent that over the 21 games at first for Carlos, he was far from solid at the position.
- Left field offensive production – If the offensive production that the Tigers get from left field does not improve then a move of Cabrera to left field might make some sense. Jaques Jones and Marcus Thames, the latter of whom has not gotten much playing time, do not begin to step it up then it’s hard to justify not moving Cabrera there. Playing Brandon Inge at third-base won’t give you less offense and will boost defense drastically.
According to Ken Rosenthal, Brandon Inge is less than thrilled, actually he used the word ‘livid’, with the move. As with the earlier problems with Inge, which I didn’t pay any mind, I don’t care. But within the article there was this rationale for not playing Cabrera in left field.
“(Cabrera) doesn’t run very well,” Dombrowski says. “Our ballpark is really big in left field. If you put a heavy-legged left fielder in our ballpark, it’s going to catch up to you.”
Makes some sense, but then again, Marcus Thames falls directly into this same category. Regardless, This is a positive move for the team and I agree with Leyland that this move makes the team better.