25 January 2012

Hello, Prince Fielder!

Well, how does this one strike us, Tiger fans? Will the lineup look something like this?

Austin Jackson CF
Brennen Boesch RF
Miguel Cabrera DH
Prince Fielder 1B
Delmon Young LF
Jhonny Peralta SS
Alex Avila C
Raburn / Santiago 2B
Inge / Kelly 3B

The real fun will begin next year, however, when Victor Martinez returns. With him back in the DH role full-time, and Prince at 1B, Miguel will have to transition either back to 3B (Inge's contract will be up after this year) or perhaps out to LF (Young's contract will also be up).

Or, do you get creative already this year? Which is the better defensive alignment? Cabrera at 3B, Inge/Kelly in LF, and Young at DH? Or Young in LF, Inge/Kelly at 3B, and Cabrera at DH? It boils down to this, I think: Which is the bigger defensive liability? Young in LF? He's painful to watch out there. Or Cabrera at 3B? He used to play there, but he has gotten quite a bit larger since then. You also have to consider that pitchers like Porcello and Fister depend upon ground ball outs, so infield defense might be more important than outfield, and we are already dealing with Peralta (limited range) and Raburn (at least sometimes) in the middle of the infield.

Update: upon further reflection, I've decided that I would like to see Cabrera give LF a try. You don't want to insult your best hitter by moving him to DH so early in his career, and he must be at least as good as Delmon out there. I mean, we've played Magglio in RF for years and it hasn't killed us. This way you can also keep Inge at 3B, which is all the more important now that defense has become such a question with this signing. So, here's what I'm thinking (notice the perfect R/L alternation all the way down the list):

A. Jackson CF
B. Boesch RF
M. Cabrera LF
P. Fielder 1B
D. Young DH
A. Avila C
J. Peralta SS
R. Santiago 2B
B. Inge 3B


Katie said...

I haven't watched Prince at 1st much, but Cabrera is such a stud there. Amazing D at 1st, really. But I suppose that's what Prince was brought in for, so I suppose he must be good there.

John said...

Well he was brought in more just to crush the ball out of the yard. Last year he hit 38 with 120 RBI. A few years ago he hit 50.

Trouble is just that of the two of them, Cabby is the only one who could possibly manage playing elsewhere. And Prince is supposed to be pretty good at first.

Somebody Calls Me Nana said...

Official word sounds like it will be Cabrera at 3rd indeed. And no late game substitutions according to Leyland. A lot can change though, it's pretty early. Also per DD, Inge has a role on this team, but he (Inge) doesn't sound happy about it.
I am getting a bit tired of his complaining to be honest.
The infield defense is worrisome, I do like your idea of Cabrera to LF. If not, we still need a DH??
Good points on Porcello and Fister as well.
I believe Cabrera and Fielder are only the 2nd teammates ever under 30 years old each with 225+ homers. Hank Aaron and Eddie Matthews.


Craig said...

This works really nice for this year. They say they're gonna use Miggy at 3rd, and that may or may not be terrible. I'm guessin' that, especially when Fister or Porcello are pitching, they're gonna want a bit more range on the infield defense. You can do a 1B/DH two-step with Cabrera and Fielder for this year, but when V-Mart comes back in '13, the fun begins, and they've gotta find a settled alternate position for either Cabrera or Fielder.

Cabrera is considered an average-to-above-average defensive 1B; Fielder, not so much.

While I absolutely welcome Fielder's bat (and the father/son angle, with the file photos of 12-year-old Prince sitting at Cecil's locker, is a cute story line), a few things about the signing perplex me -

- Obviously, there's some difficulty finding spots for all three of Cabrera, Martinez and Fielder. V-Mart is signed thru '14, so maybe things look better then. . .

- The Tigers have been saying all off-season that they need to get faster, and better defensively; this makes them worse, on both counts.

- I don't get the nine years; that's got 'three years of dead money' written all over it, especially if Prince is gonna be committed to staying fat. I understand that Boras wanted nine years, but I'm guessin' the Tigers could've gotten him to settle for seven. . .

As to Inge, I'm sure his days are numbered. He'll probably stick with the team this year as a kind of utility player, but Nick Castellanos is coming. And when he's major-league-ready, the Tigers face some real hard questions - trade Cabrera/Fielder for prospects?? Eeesh. . . Of course, if Inge hits even .250, things look different, at least in the short term.

Barring something unforeseen, it seems that Delmon Young will get a one-year rental from the Tigers. They simply can't be sub-par defensively at so many positions. . .

You can be sure that Santiago will NOT be the full-time 2B; I'd guess Rayburn will get at least half (and probably more like 2/3) of the ABs at that position (and back to the defensive questions. . .)

So. . . nice bat to add to the lineup; REAL nice bat. And nice for the short run. But, in the long run, I'm still not certain that it doesn't create more problems than it solves. . .

John said...

I think I agree with everything you wrote there. The signing certainly does have its share of troubling angles.

Regarding Raburn getting most of the starts at 2B, can you imagine a starting defensive infield with less range than Fielder, Raburn, Peralta, Cabrera?

Craig said...

I suppose we could get Adam Dunn. . .