Sunday, December 1, 2013

Detroit Tigers position by position review: First Base (revised)

I never would have dreamed a team out there would have taken on the contract of Prince Fielder even with the Tigers kicking in 30 million dollars towards it. The important thing to note is the real win here is how the 30 million will be paid and it looks like it will be in payments spread over several seasons and for a team in win now mode 5 million of bad money over the last years of the Fielder contract is nothing considering he is owed 24 million for the next seven seasons.

Of course this alters the Tigers daily lineup and the entire make up of the infield. Miguel Cabrera reportedly has asked the team to be moved back to first base, and the expectation is he and Victor Martinez will platoon there and at DH. I would also expect this team to give 27 year old Jordan Lennerton a very long look in the spring and would not bet against the team carrying him on the roster as insurance at first and a left handed bat on the bench. Of course without Prince the Tigers also need a left handed bat in the daily lineup.

I do not think the Tigers will add a free agent at first. Having Miggy and Victor as well as Lennerton seems solid enough to begin the season with. I think the big change will come at third. If they feel that Nick Casetallanos is not ready to play every day for the big club at his natural position.

Cabrera played a fine first base for four years making the All Star team twice and finishing in the top five of MVP voting three times. The move back to first makes sense for anyone who saw Miguel battle through injuries in September, and the post season. Having Cabrera and Victor playing everyday at first and or DH reminds me a lot of the years Darrell Evans and Dave Bergman played first and DH (amongst other positions). I also think Miggy and Victor will hit 3 and 4 in the lineup as of right now. That may change if they find a left handed bat to play left field. Then it would make more sense for the lefty to bat 4th with the switch hitting Martinez 5th.

It will be nice to see a little youth, even if it is somewhat experienced youth, and other guys filling out the bench positions on this team. We all wait to see who Brad Ausmus' guys are but some of the Jim Leyland guys are not likely to return. With that being said I don't see Don Kelly going anywhere. his value to the team is his ability to play multiple positions and I don't see that value declining. Kelly can also play first and fill in in later innings if need be.

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