Corners Switch: Cabrera, Guillen Swap

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tigers manager Jim Leyland decided to move Carlos Guillen to third base and send Miguel Cabrera to first base. This is a surprising move because the Tigers initial intention when they went out to get Edgar Renteria was to move Guillen to first to take some stress of his knees. Cabrera has no experience at first base besides the seven games this season, while Guillen's experience at third is minimal. Both Guillen and Cabrera are heating up, but you would hate to lose Guillen because of knee problems. Yes, you have Brandon Inge, but you traded two solid prospects to basically protect Guillen's knees after locking him up four more years.

Still, moving Cabrera to first might cause a jump in power numbers. When Nomar Garciaparra played first, he hit twenty homeruns. That was a jump in numbers for him, especially after hitting just seven playing a combined third and first. Leyland was unclear whether or not he thought that Cabrera could no longer play third, but he did say both players were okay with the move: “We think we’re making a move that makes our ballclub better at this time,” Leyland said. “When you see things as a staff and as a manager and as a general manager and you see things that believe are the right thing to make your club better, you make the move.

Cabrera is locked up till 2015 while Guillen is locked up till 2011. The Tigers don't really have a first baseman that will come up soon that would force Cabrera to move back, so this move might be a permanent one.


Bucky, NY 5:28 PM CDT  

You had to see this coming, Cabrera is overweight and a liability on Def. Within two or three years he will be a fulltime DH. Inge will end up back at Third by the end of next month.

Anonymous 10:10 AM CDT  

I'm not sure playing 3rd base is any more stressful on a players knees than 1st base. They're both reflex positions which don't require the running, planting and throwing that are part of playing middle infield. I'd say Guillen's knees are safe.

Albert Pujols made a very sucessful move from 3rd to 1st, and (aside from his arm problems) plays rock-solid defense. We'll have to see whether or not Cabrera's work ethic will afford him the same sucess.