Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Gullien-Cabrera Switch Does Seem Logical

It was a surprise when Jim Leyland announced after the Tigers victory over Texas Tuesday night that he was shifting Carlos Guillen from first base to third, and replacing him with Miguel Cabrera, who had been the Tigers’ third baseman.
There is, however, solid logic behind the move. Guillen is a much better infielder than Cabrera. He does tend to be error-prone (his biggest issue is transferring the ball from his glove to throwing hand smoothly), but he has better range and is just a better defender than Cabrera, who has an inconsistent arm. Conversely, when he has played first, Cabrera has been just fine. Seems like he has outgrown other positions and first is his ultimate destination. Certainly, he has the offensive production of a front line first baseman. Also, Guillen, for reasons I don’t understand, was awkward and clearly out of place at first this season. So much so, it seemed like he was an injury about to happen there. It was strange, because when Guillen played first base in the past, he performed well.
Like all moves, this one is subject to change. I like it, though, and think it is worth trying. It should tighten up the left side of the infield because there were range issues there - and it allows the Tigers to get all their best bats in the lineup. It also frees Brandon Inge to be used in a number of different of ways - including at third if Guillen is the DH.

Random Thoughts

- Couldn’t ask for a better matchup in the second round than the Red Wings and Avalanche. This is a series the Red Wings should win. The wild card is Colorado goalie Jose Theodore. He has put his troubles into the past and is playing great hockey again. Can Chris Osgood match him?

- The thought of the Lions trading up to get Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan doesn’t make sense to me. First of all, what about Drew Stanton? Don’t they have to find out what they have there? Secondly, is Matt Ryan really that good? For some reason, he kind of reminds me of Joey Harrington. He is a solid college QB with a chance to succeed in the pros, but I don’t see any overwhelming skills.

- I was disappointed the Flyers beat Washington in Game 7 for one reason and one reason only - no more Alexander Ovechkin. With all due respect to Sidney Crosby, Ovechkin is the most exciting player to hit in the NHL in a long, long time.


Blogger Barry said...

Hey Pat, we blog about this months ago, this a good baseball move. I guess JL has a standard for his players. Tigers need a good 3B sacker with three lefties in the rotation. Guillen can drop the ball now and still has time to throw the runners out at 1B. How is Jeff Larish doing in Toledo? I wonder if Cabrera will be a full-time DH in the near future?

3:01 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

As Yoda would say "Interesting day, this is."

The point seems moot today with Inge starting at third, Cabrera DHing, and Guillen play first. But the sports radio talk has been pretty heated.

My concern is that this sounds like grasping at straws that will work under the teams current political climate. And straw grasping smells like desperation.

Guillen at third? On paper he should do great there. But on paper he should be a top rate first baseman. So this should be interesting.

This is one crazy season, and its only April 23. And it was supposed to be so straight forward.

Pat, what do you think we will be talking about at the all star break?

5:48 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I don't see him as a full-time DH for a long time, but does seem to fit first base.

11:12 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
The Tigers are making a move here. Time to take the finger off the panic button. But they won't win anything unless their starting pitching improves.

11:22 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From what I've read about Sheffield's injury, it seems to be that he won't last out the year. That would open the up the DH slot for Guillen. The line up is so potent, I wouldn't be shocked to see Leyland decide on Inge ending up at third. Irony striking again! Dave

3:25 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

That is why Inge is so valuable. He can play a number of positions and play them well. He is also a good enough hitter that he can play every day if necessary.

10:35 AM 

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