Wednesday, December 4, 2013

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

My original assessment is I did not want the Detroit Tigers to make Hernan Perez the everyday second baseman unless they upgraded the offensive production at catcher. However, I would have done just about anything to get out of the Prince Fielder deal and having Ian Kinsler at a elevated price for a few years is fine with me. Make no mistake about it Kinsler is the second baseman for the next two years, and that is relevant cause the way this is shaping up the Tigers are all in to win in 2014 and 2015 and then it looks like they will rebuild.

We are seeing a partial rebuild effort this off season. We are seeing the team shed payroll dollars and hopefully upgrade the supporting cast. It is hard to say if Kinsler will play a better second base than Omar Infante had the last season and a half. I think Kinsler fits as a hitter better into Comerica Park and I think he will be the #2 guy in the daily lineup. The Tigers do not need power out of him they need him to get on base, use his running ability to distract pitchers when they are pitching to Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez.

Defensively I think he will do fine short term, but middle infielders do not age well and his deal isn't exactly small. However it does expire before Prince's does and that contract was already ugly. His salary also goes down over the last two years of the deal so this is a far more workable deal. Of course that is after the 2015 when I think if the team wins a world series or not they will blow it all up and fully rebuild.

It is important not to compare numbers between Fielder and Kinsler. It is important to keep the end goal in mind. I do not want Tigers fans to freak out when Fielder hits 40 home runs next year, and he is gonna, because he is far more suited to hit in that park than Comerica Park. The Tigers did not add Kinsler for power but OBP at the top of the order. He is far more suited for the Placido Polanco role and I think this trade will work out for both teams short term.

Kinsler is the guy at second and we just have to be ok with that. I think it is extremely unlikely his individual numbers will ever live up to the size of his contract, but again keeping the end goal in mind that the Tigers are trying to win right now.

On top of all that the Ramon Santiago era of this club is now over, and the last piece of that disaster of a 2003 team is finally gone. I think Steve Lombardozzi, acquired in the Doug Fister deal, is the main backup in the middle infield and he may get a start here and there in left. I'm not sure how big a deal that is either as ridding the team of Santiago saves more dollars to pay Max Scherzer and whoever this team gets to play left field. I am pretty ok with that, and Kinsler is good enough that second to not make me worry till 2016. However, I am not pleased at all this team chose to let him wear Alan Trammell's #3.

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