Did you hear the news? (that was a joke, I'm sure you did.) The Tigers signed Prince Fielder to an un-goodnessly large contract that will pay him over $200 million (American) dollars over the next nine years. This contract will, in all likelihood, prove to be a gross overpayment, but I won’t be complaining as he and Cabrera combine to hit a billion home runs for the next several years.
Now that the initial shock and excitement has worn off, we’re all left with the same question: what do you do with two hefty first basemen? As we all know, there are two answers. Door number one leads to one of the two playing first base and the other acting as the designated hitter on any given day. Door number two leads to Cabrera moving back to his “natural” position at the hot corner (there can’t be anything “natural” about a 6-4, 250 lb man playing third base, can there?).
The first choice would be relatively simple to implement for this season. The addition of Prince effectively and completely makes up for the loss of Victor Martinez, so it’s really just a plug-and-play solution. The big problem arises when Victor returns by the start of the 2013 season. What do you do when you have three really good hitters that need to be in the lineup everyday, but you only have two lineup spots available? You could try to trade Victor, but you’d get literally nothing in return (unless you eat a large portion of the money) because he has little to no excess value in his contract. That’s a less than ideal solution. You could try to trade Cabrera, but then, what would have been the point of all of this? Door number one works for a year, but I think it would lead down a path that ends up in front of door number two.
What the Tigers really need to do is see if Cabrera can stick at third base. So the question becomes, how bad can we allow him to be in the field before we need to squash the experiment? To answer this question, we need to figure out what the differences in the lineups would be with Cabby at third and at DH.
(more after the jump)
Matt Snyder has been the editor of The Tigers Den since February 2012. He has written about the Detroit Tigers online at Motor City Bengals, Detroit Jock City, and Saber-Tooth Tigers, and in print for the Maple Street Press' 2011 Detroit Tigers Annual. Matt enjoys baseball through in-depth statistical analysis and sabermetrics.
Brian Buckey joined the staff of The Tigers Den in June of 2012. Brian is a graduate of Indiana University with a degree in Journalism. He also received his Master's degree in Sports Journalism from the National Sports Journalism Center at Indiana University. Brian has experience doing freelance work with several different newspapers, though this is his first experience writing for a blog.
When not watching the Tigers, you can find Brian cheering on the Indiana Hoosiers and the Duke Blue Devils. You can reach Brian via email at Bbuckey11@gmail.com.no comments