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  1. This team has lost money three years in a row according to Forbes.

    This guy just likes baseball. Too bad he didn’t try and sign pujols, would have given them a much better shot at the ring.

    Still, i’m pretty sure this one is going down as one of the worst of all time from a business perspective.

    Comment by Jesse — January 24, 2012 @ 5:24 pm

  2. They need to win like 8 WS for a realistic ROI.

    Comment by hernandez17 — January 24, 2012 @ 5:31 pm

  3. Also its not appropriate to call this debacle a sunk cost. Today they sank it

    Comment by Jesse — January 24, 2012 @ 5:36 pm

  4. Really? Ryan Howard or Vernon Wells ring a bell? At least Fielder is reasonably expected to put up 5 or 6 wins. (And he’s making as much per year as Howard is right now to be a below-average-and-still-declining player until 2016.) Perspective, please.

    I don’t know if Cabrera moving down the spectrum is as bad as it sounds. He gets a lot of flak for being overweight, but he’s more mobile than people give him credit. In fact, part of his problem at 1st has actually been that he often ranges farther than he should (see the crucial play in Galarraga’s “perfect game”) as if he was still playing the Hot Corner. He’ll be worse at 3rd, there’s no doubt. But it probably isn’t going to be as big of a difference as an error-prone stone wall like Reynolds moving back to 3rd would be. Maybe another 3 runs lost per year (and that’s made up for in positional scarcity).

    At any rate, Cabrera could be the worst defensive third baseman of all time and he will still be leaps and bounds better than the production the Tigers got there last year.

    Comment by JG — January 24, 2012 @ 5:39 pm

  5. Fattest infield ever.

    Comment by Slartibartfast — January 24, 2012 @ 5:40 pm

  6. Tigers need to trade for my buddy Adam Dunn.

    The new moneyball idea – overpay for fat DH.

    Comment by Chone Figgins MVP — January 24, 2012 @ 5:47 pm

  7. And Pujols plays third base, too!

    Comment by Well-Beered Englishman — January 24, 2012 @ 5:48 pm

  8. I declare Prince & Cecil the fattest Father/Son combo in professional sports history.

    Comment by Chone Figgins MVP — January 24, 2012 @ 5:52 pm

  9. Heck of a softball team they’re building up there in the motor city..

    BOOM!

    Comment by fergie348 — January 24, 2012 @ 5:53 pm

  10. You say that Cabrera “has only once offered value with his glove,” but what you really mean is that only once has his defense been above-average. That doesn’t mean that his defense is so atrocious that he’d be better off at DH. Over his career, he’s produced about 12 runs/season more value than if he had been paying at DH. If he’s going to be at 3B, he’d need to be about a -23 defender in order to produce less value than he would at DH. That’s unlikely.

    Of course, its rare to find a guy whose defense is so atrocious that he gains value by moving to DH (see Adam Dunn), but someone has to play DH. And Fielder’s defense has actually been a bit worse than Cabrera’s each of the last 6 seasons.

    I don’t know what the solution is. Probably not to sign 3 friggin’ DH’s.

    Comment by Yirmiyahu — January 24, 2012 @ 5:53 pm

  11. noted and fixed

    Comment by Eno Sarris — January 24, 2012 @ 6:00 pm

  12. Except there is no roster crunch if you don’t have Victor Martinez. For now you have a 1B and DH, probably the best such duo in the league. I’m not sure why they’d consider Cabrera at 3B, but for now I wouldn’t worry about 2013. Win a World Series right now and worry about VMart if and when he comes back next season.

    Comment by Randy — January 24, 2012 @ 6:01 pm

  13. I seriously doubt they’re keeping all three guys. Martinez’s contract is movable but Cabrera’s drinking problem leads me to believe that he’s the one moving out of town. This last arrest was his second arrest involving alcohol and violence and despite the public’s short memory I get the feeling the Tigers haven’t forgotten.

    Comment by Ed Nelson — January 24, 2012 @ 6:01 pm

  14. Any idea how Martinez would like at 3B? He had the footwork and the arm to play a passable catcher, so why not 3B?

    Comment by walt526 — January 24, 2012 @ 6:02 pm

  15. The ridiculous thing is that Miggy was ~40 runs better in the batters box than the 2nd best 3rd baseman last year, Evan Longoria. So even if he’s a brutal -30 UZR at 3B, he’ll still be one of the best in the majors.

    Comment by beconstructive — January 24, 2012 @ 6:03 pm

  16. i’m less worried about Miggy booting the occasional ball at 3B, and more concerned about him shredding his groin stumbling after a bunt.

    Comment by dudley — January 24, 2012 @ 6:06 pm

  17. Miggy’s fantasy value just exploded to #.0000000000001 (you’d be retarded to not take him first).

    Comment by Schu — January 24, 2012 @ 6:06 pm

  18. Blocking pitches in the dirt is not at all similar to gliding after ground balls.

    Comment by Richie — January 24, 2012 @ 6:10 pm

  19. Can I join your fantasy team? He’d be a TERRIBLE first pick.

    Comment by Ari Collins — January 24, 2012 @ 6:16 pm

  20. err… *fantasy league.

    Comment by Ari Collins — January 24, 2012 @ 6:17 pm

  21. Any reason the Tigers won’t just use Martinez back at catcher if there is a jam? Are they worried about a dip in production there or just his health?

    Comment by Cleetus — January 24, 2012 @ 6:17 pm

  22. With Verlander, Fister, Scherzer, Porcello, and Turner, the Tigers really don’t need much defense. Porcello is the only ground ball pitcher of the group.

    Comment by Theo — January 24, 2012 @ 6:17 pm

  23. Actually, scratch that… forgot about Avila.

    Comment by Cleetus — January 24, 2012 @ 6:18 pm

  24. I would say that C->3B has been one of the more common position changes in baseball history.

    Both positions require quickness, agility, and a strong, accurate arm, but not significant range.

    My guess is that if you look at all of the C’s that have transferred to 3B, you’ll find a bunch of guys that were serviceable fielders.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — January 24, 2012 @ 6:31 pm

  25. Of course, the outfield includes Delmon Young and Brennan Boesch, so maybe giving up fly balls isn’t a great strategy either.

    Comment by Josh — January 24, 2012 @ 6:34 pm

  26. Keep a 33 year old, injured C and move a 28 year old who is a better player. Drunk or not, Cabrera is a much better player and likely to be better over the next 3-5 years.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — January 24, 2012 @ 6:44 pm

  27. I agree, the defensive value lost isn’t much because his bat is so insane at a position that doesn’t have many elite bats. If he starts missing 40 games a year, then that’s when it hurts.

    I don’t watch many Tigers games. Any chance Miggy could be moved to a corner outfield spot? Be nice if this is a ridiculous idea. I didn’t do any homework before asking. Just saying, if teams trot Manny Ramirez out there, why not Cabrera?

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — January 24, 2012 @ 6:45 pm

  28. My guess is if you look at guys who so transitioned after 30, you’ll find very few who made it work. I remember the Brewers trying it with Ted Simmons, which was disastrous.

    Comment by Richie — January 24, 2012 @ 6:47 pm

  29. Manny never had Miggy’s weight issues, and got to play half his games in a ridiculously cozy left field. And health-wise, I think I’d feel a bit safer with Miggy at least in the infield rather than cutting off balls in the outfield.

    Comment by Richie — January 24, 2012 @ 6:50 pm

  30. We won’t have seen footwork like this since Toronto played Troy Glaus as shortstop.

    Comment by Llewdor — January 24, 2012 @ 6:50 pm

  31. Bear in mind the bullpen gets, what, 40% of the innings?

    Comment by Richie — January 24, 2012 @ 6:51 pm

  32. Delmon Young would stand to be offended that you think so little of him as a player that you don’t even acknowledge him as the Tigers’ 4th DH. My hunch is that the Tigers would gladly pay Victor Martinez to go play somewhere else before the 3-way logjam for two spots (1B and DH) comes to fruition (probably no sooner than 2013 given a reasonable outcome for healing of an ACL repair).

    Comment by reillocity — January 24, 2012 @ 6:51 pm

  33. Who would you take 1st? I can only see Bautista, Ellsbury and Kemp as alternatives…I’d probably take Bautista (3B+OF>1B+3B), but it’s pretty close. Cabrera will be a fantasy monster.

    Comment by Ian — January 24, 2012 @ 6:53 pm

  34. Ever watch a football game? There have been offensive lineman father/son combos. Richmond and J’Marcus Webb for instance tip the scales at a total of 670 pounds.

    Comment by MikeS — January 24, 2012 @ 6:55 pm

  35. Cabrera is actually fairly rangy and is comfortable throwing off balance. I’d think his skill set suits 3B much more than LF – he is probably even slower than Delmon Young, somehow.

    Comment by Ian — January 24, 2012 @ 6:56 pm

  36. Russell Martin did the opposite

    Comment by Bip — January 24, 2012 @ 6:57 pm

  37. Hahaha, I remember that.

    In current times, E5 (who is shamefully not mentioned in the above terribad fielding comparisons) and Cabrera can have a field-off.

    Comment by sc2gg — January 24, 2012 @ 7:11 pm

  38. Youkilis!

    Comment by Eric — January 24, 2012 @ 7:26 pm

  39. Todd Zeile

    Comment by 44 — January 24, 2012 @ 7:26 pm

  40. here’s why he wasn’t a good comp: Youkilis was a pretty good defensive first baseman!

    Comment by Eno Sarris — January 24, 2012 @ 7:30 pm

  41. “If he’s going to be at 3B, he’d need to be about a -23 defender in order to produce less value than he would at DH.”

    And that doesn’t even take into account the loss in production due to DHing.

    Comment by SeanP — January 24, 2012 @ 7:51 pm

  42. If we’re talking about first basemen getting slotted over to DH/3B because of high-paid new acquisitions, Mark Trumbo comes to mind as well. They already tried him at third in the minors until the trainers giggled until they threw up and let him play first. Now he’s got to find a way into a lineup that could have Kendrys Morales at DH and an underrated Alberto Callaspo at 3B. The only regular he outplays at the plate is Vernon Wells, and even there the competition, Mike Trout, is better. But who knows.

    Comment by Kernel — January 24, 2012 @ 8:08 pm

  43. Yeah that 3b eligibility will kill his value.

    Comment by Colin — January 24, 2012 @ 8:14 pm

  44. ZIPs projects him to be #2 at 155 OPS+. Couple that with a really weak 3rd base position and he’s a monster.

    Comment by Schu — January 24, 2012 @ 8:15 pm

  45. Brandon Inge

    Comment by voice of reason — January 24, 2012 @ 8:28 pm

  46. You mean the arrest that was almost a year ago? He’s got a guy following him around now a la Josh Hamilton, making sure he doesn’t do stupid stuff.

    Comment by JG — January 24, 2012 @ 8:29 pm

  47. lol are you kidding? who would be better, ryan howard?

    Comment by jim — January 24, 2012 @ 8:29 pm

  48. alex avila

    Comment by jim — January 24, 2012 @ 8:30 pm

  49. I can’t imagine him being any better than -15 at 3rd, and the Positional Adjustment difference is 15 runs in that transition.

    If he is a -20 at 3rd then that would only be a half of a win loss. Although, obviously playing 3rd will cause more wear and tear and he will also be Dh’ing and playing 1st for 30-40 games I would hope.

    Should be interesting. They could potentially have 10-12 WAR from just their Infield corners next season.

    Comment by Matty Brown — January 24, 2012 @ 8:30 pm

  50. Umm, Alex Avila, who was a 5 win player last year. I think he would have something to say about that.

    Also the fact that VMart is incredibly injury-prone when he is a DH, let alone when he’s a catcher.

    Comment by JG — January 24, 2012 @ 8:32 pm

  51. Cabrera as a -5 3B is nothing short of wildly optimistic. He would likely run away with MVP.

    Comment by westcoast hero — January 24, 2012 @ 8:33 pm

  52. If the Miggy to 3rd business comes to pass, Delmon is the DH in 2012 and is likely replaced in the outfield by Andy Dirks, who is quite good in either corner spot. Boesch is below average, but only a shade below average in left. Meanwhile Austin Jackson is superb according to UZR, which is the metric that likes him the least (2nd in baseball in DRS since he debuted, for example).

    The Tigers’ OF defense isn’t nearly as big of a weakness as the infield defense, and if Delmon is indeed the DH next season (which will probably be his last in Detroit unless he inexplicably starts raking), it’s a minor strength.

    Comment by JG — January 24, 2012 @ 8:45 pm

  53. Half a win lost from Miggy last year = 6-7 win gain from Detroit’s 3B last year, with only slightly worse production at 1B and DH.

    Comment by JG — January 24, 2012 @ 8:49 pm

  54. Father Buddy, sons Rob and Rex Ryan..

    Comment by Cidron — January 24, 2012 @ 9:00 pm

  55. Tigers will lose every game that the opposing team drops bunts down the 3b line until Fielder lives up to his name. Tell me why a well coached team cant jus drop those bunts all game long? (stress – well coached, not “its all about me, hackers, and ego freaks”)

    Comment by Cidron — January 24, 2012 @ 9:04 pm

  56. Because most players don’t practice bunting unless it’s a key part of their everyday strategy (e.g. Erick Aybar, Ichiro, etc.). Also, no team used this strategy when Mark Reynolds (a far worse 3B than the most pessimistic projections for Miggy) was manning the Hot Corner.

    Comment by JG — January 24, 2012 @ 9:17 pm

  57. Richie: When Manny was in Cleveland, maybe. But in Boston and after, he got a bit chunky.

    Even if Cabrera is about 20 pounds heavier than what he’s listed at here, Manny had a higher BMI than Cabrera. BMI isn’t a perfect scale for measuring the general population, but when comparing two people who are both extremely muscular, it’s a fair method.

    Comment by JG — January 24, 2012 @ 9:55 pm

  58. There are many amazing things about this, but I think the most amazing is that the Tigers have barely improved themselves in the short term.

    Comment by Andrew — January 24, 2012 @ 10:12 pm

  59. TRUTH

    Comment by adohaj — January 24, 2012 @ 10:54 pm

  60. If Dombrowski makes the moves you’re suggesting then he’s the one with the drinking problem.

    Comment by chuckb — January 24, 2012 @ 10:54 pm

  61. Signing a 5 win player is barely improving? Pretty hard to argue this is a model long-term deal, but it’s clearly good to great in the short-term, which is when the Tigers’ core players are in their primes.

    Comment by JG — January 24, 2012 @ 11:04 pm

  62. 8 world series to get roi? the yankees would have to win every year then right? as well as the bosox right? gabrera is under contract for 3 more years and vmart 3 also. jerseys beer and tix plus in 2 years a new tv contract will cover all these contracts. rangers just spent 60 mill on a guy thats never pitched in the mlb. pujols will be 41 when his 264 mill contract is over. the tigers and leyland will make this work guaranteed. why is it a problem to have the best offense in baseball? still not the worse d.

    Comment by ronniesandel — January 24, 2012 @ 11:05 pm

  63. Miggy was actually not putrid at 3b when he played there before. He was slightly thinner then, but he has shown the ability to come into the season in shape. I believe as recently as 10′ Miggy came into the year in fantastic shape. This year not so much. But maybe this will motivate him to get fit.

    Comment by Colin — January 24, 2012 @ 11:07 pm

  64. This statement is untrue: “there hasn’t ever been a poor defensive first baseman at least one year removed from playing third base, who went back to the position for more than one season.”

    Deacon White played all of 2 games at 3B hrough his age 32 season, splitting most of his time between 1B and RF. He’d go on to play nearly twice as many games at 3B as any other position.
    Bob Bailey.
    Joe Stripp.
    Todd Zeille.
    Dewey Evans.
    Pete Rose (LF instead of 1B, but still).

    Comment by JimNYC — January 24, 2012 @ 11:26 pm

  65. Weren’t they one of the teams who’s financial records got exposed and they were actually making money? Even if they weren’t, I’m sure they’re still making positive gains anyway.

    Comment by Chone — January 24, 2012 @ 11:28 pm

  66. https://twitter.com/#!/HanleyRamirez/status/144087630932488192/photo/1

    He looks like he’s in great shape.

    Comment by Chone — January 24, 2012 @ 11:32 pm

  67. aaah shea hillenbrand…those were the days

    Comment by timmyt — January 24, 2012 @ 11:41 pm

  68. LF is about the same as 1B on the defensive spectrum so I didn’t count OF ones, was specifically looking at third base. The numbers we have say Todd Zeile was a good 1B and that’s how I remember him. Darrell Evans played before the cutoff I used and generally moved towards first base as his career progressed.

    I’ll add in the ‘since 1980′ that was my cutoff and that handles the rest.

    Comment by Eno Sarris — January 24, 2012 @ 11:41 pm

  69. Actually, Lance Berkman made a nice transition from 1B to OF last year for St. Louis with a body like Cabrera’s, and longer in the tooth. I would split DH duties this year Cabrera/Fielder/Young. Then in 2013, VMart is DH and Cabrera goes to LF.

    I do not think Cabrera at 3B is a good idea. I remember 2008 too well. I think his defense at 1B is actually not as bad as the stats show.

    Hitters will find a spot in the lineup, and the Tigers have some serious hitters, plus starters (actually see them make a run for a veteran for #5 starter now, Oswalt) .

    Most importantly, Mike Illitch wants to win NOW. Baseball fan, wants a ring now.

    Comment by Portwinelad — January 24, 2012 @ 11:58 pm

  70. At JG (and anyone else who knows) why would Delmon Young be the DH?

    Comment by Nathan Nathan — January 25, 2012 @ 12:37 am

  71. Can someon at Fan Graphs run a comparison of the WORST Fielding infield of all time — how would the 2012 Tigers compare: Fielder/Rayburn/Peralta/Miggy.

    Comment by Chuck N Chino — January 25, 2012 @ 12:42 am

  72. Meh. If my team won a ring next season, I probably wouldnt care if they were hamstrung 5 or 6 years down the line.

    Comment by ben — January 25, 2012 @ 12:45 am

  73. Their owner is 82…. I think win now is his aim.

    Comment by TexPantego — January 25, 2012 @ 12:52 am

  74. That’s also a 150 HR, 450 RBI 350 walk 290 hitting infield if you add Avila….I’ll take my chances w that….

    Comment by Tim — January 25, 2012 @ 1:12 am

  75. Michael Barrett also did the opposite

    Comment by shamus mcfitzy — January 25, 2012 @ 1:32 am

  76. Nathan: I don’t know if he would be, but it certainly makes more sense to put him at DH than let him continue to be a butcher. If he hits like he did in 2010 (not unreasonable with the amount of fastballs he’s going to get), that’s VMart-ish production from the DH.

    I think everyone who watches him (including his mother) knows that he’s a poor left fielder.

    Comment by JG — January 25, 2012 @ 1:33 am

  77. So did Carlos Ruiz

    Comment by Pop Tones — January 25, 2012 @ 2:17 am

  78. Ah, yeah, the “since 1980″ qualifier is huge, there. As a baseball fan, I’m most into 19th century through the deadball era, so that’s where my mind immediately goes.

    Comment by JimNYC — January 25, 2012 @ 2:18 am

  79. Ok, Howard’s declining, sure, and his contract is bad, but “below average?”

    He put up 2.7 bWAR last year and 2.0 the year before. He’s certainly not “below average.”

    Comment by Phrozen — January 25, 2012 @ 3:05 am

  80. Manny was only the worst defender in baseball since UZR has begun recording its data in 2002. -115 runs below average, and -20.8 UZR/150, and that was mostly in Fenway, which has an extremely small LF.

    I think there’s a flaw in your reasoning when your comp is THE WORST DEFENDER OF THE LAST DECADE. So perhaps you’re right, if Manny can do it, I’m sure Cabrera can give it a shot of being the worst defender ever.

    Comment by Will — January 25, 2012 @ 3:23 am

  81. The position problem was the very first thing I thought about. I can’t believe any artical can not start with the “wtf are they going to do with 3 DHs?” question.

    Thank you Eno for focusing on the real astounding part of this signing, I’m sure it’ll provide years of tragic wonder for us all to watch.

    Comment by Sivart — January 25, 2012 @ 4:00 am

  82. Right, because signing a 5 WAR player (assumption on your part, btw) means you win 5 more games.

    Did you forget that he’s essentially replacing a guy who’s almost as good? Verlander will regress. Outside of Miggy the rest of their lineup is pathetic. I will grant you that they play in a terrible division. So yeah, I guess giving him 9/214 on the chance he incrementally improves your playoff chances over the next couple years is solid thinking.

    Comment by Andrew — January 25, 2012 @ 5:29 am

  83. The Tigers basically had 7 DH type players this season, in Carlos Guillen, Magglio Ordonez, Wilson Betemit, Delmon Young, Brennan Boesch, Victor Martinez, and Miguel Cabrera. Prince Fielder just replaces Guillen, Ordonez, and Betemit. The world will still go round for the Tigers, only better.

    Comment by Theo — January 25, 2012 @ 5:53 am

  84. Cabrera only played a handful of games at 3B in 2008 before he was moved to 1B. The greatest reason for the move was that Carlos Guillen was terrible at 1B. Cabrera looked like a natural at 1B though, so they wisely switched Guillen to 3B and Cabrera to 1st.

    Comment by Theo — January 25, 2012 @ 5:58 am

  85. @ andrew – The Tigers had 5 of the best position players in the AL in their every day line-up. C- Avila, 1B- Cabrera, SS- Peralta, DH VMart, RF/LF Boesch. All 5 deserved to make the All-Star team.

    Comment by Theo — January 25, 2012 @ 6:02 am

  86. Cabrera actually did spend most of 2003 and 2004 with the Marlins in left field. He posted ~(-1) defensive WAR those two seasons, not too far off from his fielding everywhere else. But that was 8 years and many cheeseburgers ago.

    Comment by bstar — January 25, 2012 @ 6:17 am

  87. Damn. He does. I was expecting a joke pic.

    Comment by Jon — January 25, 2012 @ 7:21 am

  88. The funniest thing to me is that for 2012, you guessed it, they still need a DH. And they could conceivably play……………………Brandon Inge there. HAHAHAHAHA.

    Why wouldn’t Manny/Vladdy/etc on a one year rental have worked?

    Comment by JT — January 25, 2012 @ 7:31 am

  89. I’m trying to decide if this would be the best job in the world or the worst.

    Comment by Bill — January 25, 2012 @ 7:59 am

  90. For all the talk about how much value is gained by moving Miggy to 3B, because the hitting outweighs the loss of defense, if it was such a good move, why didn’t they do that last year when Inge couldn’t hit anything?

    As a RS fan, as good as Gonzo was, I didn’t think the move was an over-the-top type of acquisition, simply because of the dangers of moving Youk to 3B. I’d have been perfectly happy with a far less costly acquisition of Headley and leaving Youk at 1st.

    I just don’t see this working out. Miggy is younger, but at least Youk saw regular action at 3B over the years.

    Comment by Joey B — January 25, 2012 @ 8:51 am

  91. Good post — another example of a player so bad in the field he gains value at DH — V-Mart.

    Comment by Nathan — January 25, 2012 @ 9:05 am

  92. Howard isn’t below average, but he’s getting close. According to baseball-reference.com’s version of WAR, he was 0.3 Wins Above Average in 2010 and 0.8 Wins Above Average in 2011. The post above quote Wins Above Replacement.

    Comment by Detroit Michael — January 25, 2012 @ 9:15 am

  93. Yeah I thought it was a joke pic too. He actually does look to be in great shape. Excellent news. 3b might not be a total disaster after all.

    Comment by Colin — January 25, 2012 @ 9:34 am

  94. Inge still has ok defensive value. If he plays at all it will be at 3b.

    Comment by Colin — January 25, 2012 @ 9:37 am

  95. In fairness, Miggy has seen more action at 3b over the course of his major league career than Youk.

    Comment by Colin — January 25, 2012 @ 9:39 am

  96. Isn’t Dewey Evans a reference to Darrell’s brother, Dwight?

    Comment by Matt — January 25, 2012 @ 9:46 am

  97. Miguel Cabrera -> #1 overall fantasy baseball player 2012? If Bautista has 3B/OF eligibility he’ll also be right up there.

    Comment by Scott Tubbesing — January 25, 2012 @ 9:56 am

  98. Umm Doug Fister, also.

    Comment by Scott Tubbesing — January 25, 2012 @ 10:02 am

  99. Him or Kendrys will be traded.

    Comment by Scott Tubbesing — January 25, 2012 @ 10:06 am

  100. Sure, but now that the contracts are already signed and can’t be undone, let’s think about what they should do going forward… You could keep all 3 if you could make V-Mart a full-time catcher. But when he returns, he’ll be 34 years old, coming off a year lost to injury, and was a borderline catcher in the first place. So you’ll have to trade someone.

    Trading Prince’s contract after 1 year isn’t a possibility. And V-Mart won’t have any trade value. Assuming he has a typical year at the plate, I don’t think Cabrera’s remaining $65M/3 would look bad. He might even boost his trade value a bit if he doesn’t embarrass himself at 3B this year.

    Comment by Yirmiyahu — January 25, 2012 @ 10:12 am

  101. Actually, yes, it is; Darrell’s nickname was “Doody” (as in Howdy Doody), and I had a brain lapse there.

    Comment by JimNYC — January 25, 2012 @ 10:18 am

  102. Although Darrell Evans was a mediocre 1B in ’76 who transitioned to a mediocre LF / 1B in ’77 before going back to 3B full time in ’78.

    Comment by JimNYC — January 25, 2012 @ 10:20 am

  103. And what a great job that guy did with Josh Hamilton.

    Comment by 20389438 — January 25, 2012 @ 10:29 am

  104. You _really_ think Peralta will repeat last year? He hasn’t hit like that since 2005. And Boesch is average _at best_. He is not one of the best position players in the AL.

    Comment by 20389438 — January 25, 2012 @ 10:34 am

  105. That’s what’s so funny!

    If Miggy now wants to play 3B and neither he nor Fielder wants to DH, they still need a DH. Sure, there are several low cost options for a single year deal, but currently, in house, they could conceivably turn to………………Inge, who can’t hit but does have defensive value.

    HAHAHAHAHAHA.

    Comment by JT — January 25, 2012 @ 10:39 am

  106. I don’t think JG read the article.

    Comment by Eminor3rd — January 25, 2012 @ 10:59 am

  107. Replacing VMart with Fielder nets approx.2 wins. Avila is a PRIME regression candidate, and Peralta was positive on defense for (I believe) the only time in his career. If those two regress, it could actually be a wash.

    Also remember that while Verlander will undoubtedly be very good, he is unlikely to be as good as he was last year.

    Comment by Eminor3rd — January 25, 2012 @ 11:02 am

  108. How do you figure? Miggy won’t go to 3B this year, it’ll be next.

    Comment by Eminor3rd — January 25, 2012 @ 11:05 am

  109. Jerseys and beer — seriously? It was an exaggeration you douchenozzle. Of course they don’t need to win EIGHT effing World Series to make it a worthwhile contract. “Pujols will be 41 when his 264 mil contract is over.” And you’re touting this as a wise precedent? Just because other teams are handing out ridiculous contracts with huge money and terms doesn’t make it a good idea for Detroit to do it. They really needed to spend $200 mil to win that bullshit division? The point of my 8 WS comment is that there is no way the delta in wins Fielder gets you is worth that. Or the delta in “jerseys and beer” sales, unless the beer is being sold to Fielder.

    Comment by hernandez17 — January 25, 2012 @ 11:12 am

  110. The only possible conclusion is that it was a panic move, induced by V-Mart injury and incredible salesmanship by Boras. They did not need to commit to 9 years 200 mil to win the division and compete in the playoffs. They have the best pitching in the division, and now the staff will fare worse as a result of this deal. Assuming Miggy does move to 3B.

    Comment by hernandez17 — January 25, 2012 @ 11:18 am

  111. They’ll continue to lose money, but one would think this deal gives them a good deal at a fat new TV contract when their current deal expires to help them somewhat offset the financial losses. I cannot imagine they’ll be short on sponsorship offers either. Either way, I have to respect Ilitch for treating his life and club like a philanthropist and realizing he cannot take it with him, so he might as well go for it and spend to win before he dies.

    Comment by Brian — January 25, 2012 @ 11:26 am

  112. Ilich sells tons of cheap pizza and his wife owns a massive casino. They don’t need to make money on the Tigers. Plus, I think they make significant money on the Red Wings.

    Comment by AA — January 25, 2012 @ 11:32 am

  113. In his SSS at short, Glaus did well. It was his position in college.

    Comment by AA — January 25, 2012 @ 11:35 am

  114. Cabrera’s career 3B defense is -4.5, Reynolds is -10.5. But Cabrera hasn’t played significant 3B in 5 years and has gained a lot of weight since. It’s hard to imagine his defense is any better than Reynolds today.

    Comment by ValueArb — January 25, 2012 @ 11:36 am

  115. Mike Piazza also did the Russell Martin/Todd Zeile opposite move.

    Comment by AA — January 25, 2012 @ 11:37 am

  116. Very good. He has also played a decent 3B in more than one sample.

    Comment by AA — January 25, 2012 @ 11:40 am

  117. Actually, Cabrera has lost weight compared to a few years ago.

    Comment by AA — January 25, 2012 @ 11:42 am

  118. The difference between 1B and LF is that you need a little more agility to play 1B and more arm to play LF

    Comment by AA — January 25, 2012 @ 11:43 am

  119. Miggy has all the tools to play 3B, as he was originally a SS. Agility and a ridiculously strong arm that basically saved him in LF. Remember the Galarraga/Joyce game? He ranged really well to make that play. Its more a question of whether he wants to work for it at 3B.

    Comment by AA — January 25, 2012 @ 11:46 am

  120. There’s also the question of will he resent getting dislodged by Fielder. Hard to quantify but Miggy seems like the kind of player who would let a perceived slight impact his play on the field. It’s so outrageous that someone with Fielder’s physique can tell an AL team “I won’t DH.” Unreal.

    Comment by hernandez17 — January 25, 2012 @ 11:53 am

  121. But virtually nothing since 2007. I’m not a Tigers’ fan, so maybe there are circumstances that I’m not aware of.

    But it looks like the Tigers took a look at Miggy, decided that he couldn’t handle 3B, so moved him to 1st. Now, almost 5 years later, they’re moving him back.

    How many fielders will be worse? How many will be worse then Fielder? Peralta? Who’s the 2B next year? Is it possible that it will be the worst fielding IF in BB?

    Comment by Joey B — January 25, 2012 @ 12:02 pm

  122. Pretty sure I just wet my pants at the thought of Miguel Cabrera with third base eligibility.

    Comment by Super Shredder — January 25, 2012 @ 12:25 pm

  123. I’m stupid enough to have actually thought considerably about questions like, “If I were incredibly rich, would I be willing to lose tons of money on a baseball team as a philanthropic project?”
    The answer to that one is, “No!”
    There are too many other choices that would do more good and could even be more fun.

    Comment by Baltar — January 25, 2012 @ 12:27 pm

  124. See the Giants infield of a couple of years ago (including catcher), Molina, Sandoval, Renteria and a few other porkers.

    Comment by Baltar — January 25, 2012 @ 12:31 pm

  125. Did Fielder sign to be a DH? Cabrera’s already saying 3B for this year, and he doesn’t want to DH either.

    Cabrera to 3B in 2012 is a reality.

    Comment by JT — January 25, 2012 @ 12:40 pm

  126. A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.

    Comment by Mr. Thell — January 25, 2012 @ 12:45 pm

  127. Worked out great for Dunn

    Comment by Fredchuckdave — January 25, 2012 @ 12:53 pm

  128. And Darrell Evans volunteered for and played 7 games at SS for the Giants in an experiement. A true team player.

    Comment by Baltar — January 25, 2012 @ 12:54 pm

  129. Well, if he has all the tools to play 3B, he must be a really good 1B as well.

    But Fangraphs ranks him 16th of 21 they listed last year. And 13th of 16 listed from 2008-2011.

    If he is a bad 1B, is it reasonable to think he won’t be a bad 3B?

    Comment by Joey B — January 25, 2012 @ 1:08 pm

  130. Last season, Cabrera was going to play 3B in the World Series if the Tigers beat the Rangers. So it’s not like they weren’t thinking about it.

    Comment by Theo — January 25, 2012 @ 1:19 pm

  131. The real story here is indeed Miggy’s 3B eligibility. Evan who?

    Comment by hernandez17 — January 25, 2012 @ 1:26 pm

  132. Joe Torre was 30 when he moved from C to 3B.

    Comment by KJOK — January 25, 2012 @ 1:37 pm

  133. Well Joey, there are circumstances you were not aware of. They did the move because Guillen was getting killed at first base. He had already suffered some minor collisions over there because he kept catching the ball in the base path. They made the move to try to prevent Guillen from going to the DL.

    Comment by Colin — January 25, 2012 @ 1:43 pm

  134. Dmitri Young was also originally a SS. Then played 3B coming up through the minors…. :>)

    Comment by KJOK — January 25, 2012 @ 1:47 pm

  135. I’m curious, who are you taking with the first pick?

    Comment by 20389438 — January 25, 2012 @ 1:56 pm

  136. Imagine

    C Avila
    1B Miggy
    2B Rayburn
    3B Peralta
    SS Reyes
    RF Beltran
    CF Austin
    LF Boesch
    DH Pena

    SP Verlander
    SP CJ WIlson
    SP Scherzer
    SP Fister
    SP Turner
    RP Alburquerque RP Coke
    RP Dotel
    RP Benoit
    RP Schlereth
    CL Madson

    All it would take was finding salary dumps for Young, Porcello and Valverde and it is about the same 2012 payroll

    Comment by Awesome — January 25, 2012 @ 2:00 pm

  137. No…the Tigers lost the most money in the league in 2010…I heard they’d be close to break-even in 2011 – haven’t seen anything yet.

    Comment by Ian — January 25, 2012 @ 2:26 pm

  138. Phrozen: I was using fWAR, where he is indeed below average if you take average to be the commonly cited benchmark of around 2 wins – I should have checked BR before throwing that out there, but he’s average according to the most optimistic value metric, while Fielder is a close to elite player making less money than Howard per year in this contract. My main point is that this is not even in the same galaxy as the worst contract in baseball.

    If he’s not below average now, he’s damn close.

    Comment by JG — January 25, 2012 @ 10:33 pm

  139. Eminor: That was all based on the assumption that Cabrera is playing 3rd base this year, as has been reported. That is what I am going on.

    If that is true, the Tigers actually do not have a DH this year (in case you hadn’t heard, Victor Martinez is out for the season), and Delmon Young is probably even better suited for it than Cabrera (being that LF and 1B are about the same on the spectrum and Young’s UZR is much, much worse. Guess what? Delmon Young is not under contract past this year!

    Maybe you should actually read the first nine words of my post instead of assuming I didn’t read the article.

    Comment by JG — January 25, 2012 @ 10:39 pm

  140. ValueArb: The fact that nobody tried that strategy with Reynolds still holds up.

    I strongly doubt that Cabrera is a worse 3B than Reynolds, as well. Cabrera has better range than people give him credit for – he isn’t Ryan Zimmerman or even average, but he definitely shows enough mobility to not be eye-gougingly horrible at third base if his arm (which was never a problem in Miami) hasn’t abruptly turned around on him.

    He’s probably -15 to -20 or so, which would make him more valuable than Evan Longoria, 2011′s leading full-time 3B overall. Much ado about absolutely nothing.

    Comment by JG — January 25, 2012 @ 10:47 pm

  141. Andrew: If Cabrera moves to 3rd, Fielder is essentially replacing Brandon Inge (who was… umm, -0.4 WAR) in the lineup.

    And as far as the rest of their lineup being pathetic, they were 5th in baseball in wRC+ last year. Maybe some of them will regress (maybe some players on every team will regress – ever think of that? Think “fleet-footed” Adrian Gonzalez is good for a .380 BABIP every year?) On that same token, maybe the Tigers will get a full year of Brennan Boesch and maybe Ryan Raburn will hit more like he has in the rest of his career. Additionally, Magglio Ordonez (one of the worst players in baseball last year) will no longer be getting ABs for the Tigers.

    As far as Avila turning into a pumpkin as some predict, Bill James has him losing like .016 wOBA. His word isn’t gospel by any means, but you’d think that if there was something blatantly unsustainable about his production across the board, he would pick up on it. Avila’s average will take a hit because of the BABIP, but his walk rate is very good and he has good power (personally, I think his HR/FB could have some serious positive regression). I’d be shocked if he got less than four wins, barring injury.

    But no, just point out the players that are set to regress, while ignoring the players who underperformed this year (like Scherzer, Porcello, and Raburn). Because players who didn’t do well never rebound and players who do well always come back to earth unless they have a five year long pedigree of not regressing when they’re supposed to.

    Comment by JG — January 25, 2012 @ 11:17 pm

  142. Oh wait, unless they play for a sacred cow team with a history of sabermetric front offices. I’m sure everyone expects Jacoby Ellsbury to replicate his 9.4 WAR season.

    Comment by JG — January 25, 2012 @ 11:21 pm

  143. As far as money goes, I’d much rather have an owner who pulls in $2.5 billion from his other endeavors and likes baseball so much he’s willing to lose a fraction of his income on it than the greedy sons of bitches in Minnesota, Oakland, etc, who won’t pay to field a competitive team. So in that sense I’m very fortunate to be a Detroit fan. There might be dumb contracts from time to time, and they might look bad, but it never seems to hamper the team from signing who they want.

    Cabrera’s defensive numbers at first never made sense to me. If anything it seemed like he ranged too far on many plays. He’s got a strong arm.

    Detroit fans remember that in 2008 it wasn’t Miguel being brutal at third that wholly necessitated his moving to first, but Guillen’s awful, injury-waiting-to-happen style of first base, too. Cabrera will not be a good third baseman, but when the alternative this year is Brandon Inge (who is no longer good enough defensively to justify his Mendoza bat that also no longer has any power) and Don Kelly (…), I’ll take a -20 run hit there and roll the dice on offense.

    People who say Cabrera is immoble have no idea what they’re talking about. He might not be a great first baseman, but lack of range is not the issue with him.

    Comment by Eric Cioe — January 26, 2012 @ 12:48 am

  144. CJ Wilson wasn’t going to pitch in Detroit. He left money on the table from Florida because he wanted to pitch near his home. For all we know, Reyes and the others felt the same way. You can’t just assume that a player will go anywhere because of money. $100 million in a town you like is more valuable than $120 million in a town you don’t.

    Comment by Eric Cioe — January 26, 2012 @ 12:53 am

  145. Pretty sure Santiago will get eaten by accident.

    Comment by Ben — January 26, 2012 @ 1:45 am

  146. Richmond & J’Marcus Webb are of no relation.

    ‘I guess we all look alike to you, Costanza..’

    c

    Comment by Sugar Ray Leonard — January 26, 2012 @ 9:48 am

  147. 6 ‘thumbs up’. Yeah, alcoholism is so funny..

    Comment by That guy — January 26, 2012 @ 9:50 am

  148. Well, duh. Good luck explaining that to the nerd herd though..

    Comment by Jonah Carrie — January 26, 2012 @ 9:51 am

  149. Fielder has bounced around a bit over the last few years, and is generally a 4 win player, not 5-6. And Cabrera moving down the spectrum is as a bad as it sounds. I have no idea where in the world you think it’s only 3 runs lost per year. He projected at -40 runs in his last go-round at 3rd base. And at -40 runs, he’s no longer a star player, but I will give you that he’d be worth more than what the Tigers previously had at 3rd.

    Comment by Steve — January 26, 2012 @ 4:46 pm

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