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Sunday, June 01, 2008

It’s official: Guillen to leftfield so Inge can play third

Ok…who stuffed some mighty mezz into Leyland’s pack o’ wraps?

Carlos Guillen was an outfielder when he signed his first pro contract in 1992. Then he immediately became an infielder.

He has never played the outfield in his 16 years in the pros, either in the majors or in the minors, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

Now Guillen’s pro debut as an outfielder apparently is at hand.

Manager Jim Leyland said Saturday that Guillen probably will start in left field today against the Mariners.

...“I’m not afraid to play left,” Guillen said. “You have to have confidence to play this game. You play this game with passion.”

Repoz Posted: June 01, 2008 at 03:13 PM | 34 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: tigers

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   1. A triple short of the cycle Posted: June 01, 2008 at 03:26 PM (#2801983)
Guillen has a good attitude.
   2. HowardMegdal Posted: June 01, 2008 at 03:35 PM (#2801985)
So I haven't seen him enough, but isn't the problem that Guillen is too slow to play 1B? So he's moving... to LF?

I know Greenberg made this move, but he prepared all offseason for it.

I also know Todd Hundley made the move in-season. Didn't go quite as well.

Do people think this will work?
   3. WillYoung Posted: June 01, 2008 at 03:36 PM (#2801986)
So I haven't seen him enough, but isn't the problem that Guillen is too slow to play 1B?

No the problem was that Miguel Cabrera was too fat to play 3b.
   4. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 01, 2008 at 05:06 PM (#2801998)
So he's now moved from SS to 1B to 3B to OF in less than a year, with some DH sprinkled in for good measure.

I would venture to say that's a fairly unique path.
   5. Hurdle's Heroes (SuperBaes) Posted: June 01, 2008 at 05:07 PM (#2801999)
Imagine the added value in free agency when Guillen can make the claim, with empirical evidence, that he can passably play 4 positions. Yeah, he's not great at any of them, but didn't Soriano add some digits to his contract that way?
   6. Rally Posted: June 01, 2008 at 05:27 PM (#2802006)
Guillen deserves all the credit for handling this. 3 position changes in 2 months can't be an easy task for anyone. The Tigers probably have the best defensive alignment they can get given their personnel now. Unless Guillen can't cover enough ground in left, then maybe sending him back to first, Cabrera to DH, and Thames/Raburn/Joyce in left will do the trick.
   7. PerroX Posted: June 01, 2008 at 05:34 PM (#2802011)
LF will be easier on his 'roids.
   8. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: June 01, 2008 at 05:50 PM (#2802029)
Why not Inge to left? He played CF at the beginning of the season.

You got to feel for a team that is trying to get Brandon Inge into the lineup.
   9. J. Michael Neal Posted: June 01, 2008 at 05:53 PM (#2802030)
Inge is an outstanding third baseman. Is a good outfielder, too, but I'd rather have his glove at third, assuming Guillen can adapt to left.
   10. My guest will be Jermaine Allensworth Posted: June 01, 2008 at 05:56 PM (#2802033)
I know Greenberg made this move, but he prepared all offseason for it.

I also know Todd Hundley made the move in-season. Didn't go quite as well.


Josh Fields did this last year -- move to LF with no preparation. By no means a smooth transition, but he improved enough to be passable. This move's being made two months earlier, so that should help.
   11. Gaelan Posted: June 01, 2008 at 06:27 PM (#2802084)
So I haven't seen him enough, but isn't the problem that Guillen is too slow to play 1B? So he's moving... to LF?

I know Greenberg made this move, but he prepared all offseason for it.

I also know Todd Hundley made the move in-season. Didn't go quite as well.

Do people think this will work?


Hilarious. This from the guy who thought it was a good idea to move David Wright to secondbase. Now that was a bad idea.
   12. HowardMegdal Posted: June 01, 2008 at 06:39 PM (#2802109)
Hilarious. This from the guy who thought it was a good idea to move David Wright to secondbase. Now that was a bad idea.

Is it worth pointing out to you that Wright is 25, Guillen is 32? Or that LF requires a lot more ground to cover than 1B, while 2B and 3B are both comparable and both infield positions? Or that we still don't know if Wright could have made the transition, since he didn't, in fact, do so?

Probably not. Regardless, I'm not convinced it won't work. As I said, I haven't seen Guillen enough to form an opinion on it- hence asking those who have.
   13. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: June 01, 2008 at 07:01 PM (#2802162)
Leyland must have Guillen on his fantasy team.
   14. ian Posted: June 01, 2008 at 07:10 PM (#2802178)
No the problem was that Miguel Cabrera was too fat to play 3b.

That's not true at all. The problem was that even with playing 1B sporadically in his career (Winter leagues, occasional sub, that sort of thing) and going through Spring Training with 1B being his position, Guillen was unable to properly execute the footwork.

He repeatedly put himself in the basepath when receiving throws, and about had his head knocked off a half-dozen times in maybe as many games to begin the season. It's inexplicable but Guillen can't handle first base without damn near getting killed.

Cabrera at 3B was mediocre but not terrible.
   15. Dan Posted: June 01, 2008 at 07:34 PM (#2802225)
In what I've seen, Cabrera has looked pretty good at first base, too. Far better than Guillen looked.
   16. Walt Davis Posted: June 01, 2008 at 08:17 PM (#2802292)
but didn't Soriano add some digits to his contract that way?

There's no evidence of this. In his first two seasons, Soriano played all of 20 games at 3B and SS. Other than that, strict 2B (and not well-regarded) until the Nats moved him full-time to LF. The Cubs never had any notions of playing him in the infield though did give him a go in CF but he'd never played there before.

Soriano added digits by being the best player in FA that year and signing with a franchise and GM that were desperate to win, desperate to maintain fan support and didn't have to worry about paying the long-term bill after the team was sold.
   17. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 01, 2008 at 09:56 PM (#2802416)
Maybe this was Mayo Smith's idea.
   18. Milford Blatti Posted: June 01, 2008 at 10:43 PM (#2802441)
What's wrong with putting Cabrera in LF? He's got a decent arm. It seems wasted at 1st.
   19. Dan Posted: June 01, 2008 at 10:46 PM (#2802442)
Probably because he's a bad OF defender and decent at 1B?
   20. Rally Posted: June 01, 2008 at 11:11 PM (#2802452)
What's wrong with putting Cabrera in LF? He's got a decent arm. It seems wasted at 1st.


He can't cover any ground out there. Probably a -10 to -15 defender, like other DH types such as Carlos Lee, Josh Willingham, Adam Dunn, Pat Burrell, and Manny Ramirez.
   21. ian Posted: June 02, 2008 at 12:38 AM (#2802536)
Guillen looked surprisingly good in LF today. If Maggs' knees can handle the OF, maybe Guillen's can too.
   22. North Side Chicago Expatriate Giants Fan Posted: June 02, 2008 at 02:44 AM (#2802721)
He can't cover any ground out there. Probably a -10 to -15 defender, like other DH types such as Carlos Lee, Josh Willingham, Adam Dunn, Pat Burrell, and Manny Ramirez.


At age 25, when only a few years ago he was fit and trim. Maybe the DH will prolong his career, but I wouldn't be surprised if he were barely hanging on at 31-32, with everyone wondering what might have been.
   23. Darren Posted: June 02, 2008 at 02:55 AM (#2802740)
I haven't kept up with this, but wasn't Guillen a good SS for a while? Is he horrible now? Because if not, it would seem like the best move to put him back there and do something with Renteria--either move him to the OF or sit him.
   24. Bruce Markusen Posted: June 02, 2008 at 03:19 AM (#2802767)
Generally speaking, I think it's easier to move from the infield to the outfield than the other way around (excluding switches to first base). Soriano has done fairly well; so did Don Buford, moving from second to left. Pete Rose became an excellent outfielder. Ron Gant was a lot better in left field than he was at second base, where he was awful. Bobby Murcer became a good center fielder after flopping at shortstop. Then there's the other side of the equation. Steve Sax and Jorge Orta moved from second base to the outfield with less success, but they had to be moved somewhere because of their defensive problems on the infield. Howard Johnson was a failure in center field after being switched from third base.

Moving catchers to the outfield can be a recipe for disaster (Manny Sanguillen, Carlton Fisk, and Todd Hundley come to mind). One guy I can remember, Joe Ferguson, did OK in the outfield, mostly because he had a terrific arm from right field.

I can't think of too many outfielders who made successful switches to third base or second base, or even tougher, shortstop. Teams too often try to make the outfield-to-third base-switch, but that's only resulted in famous failures like Amos Otis and Hensley Meulens. Mickey Stanley made a pretty good short-term transition to shortstop for the '68 World Series, but then moved back to the outfield the following season.

Hey, if Renteria gets hurt, Guillen can always move back to shortstop.
   25. PreBeaneAsFan Posted: June 02, 2008 at 03:57 AM (#2802785)
I haven't kept up with this, but wasn't Guillen a good SS for a while? Is he horrible now? Because if not, it would seem like the best move to put him back there and do something with Renteria--either move him to the OF or sit him.


I think he was initially moved because his legs couldn't handle playing SS every day rather than for sucking. But I imagine he's rather poor there at this point after not having played there regularly and getting older. I'm still mystified that it took the Tigers this long to figure this plan out. If you're going to carry around a guy like Inge you need to put him somewhere his defense can make a real impact.

As for Cabrera, he didn't look terribly bad at 3rd this year, and I imagine that there are a lot of teams on which he'd still be playing 3rd. He's more in shape now than he was last year-if he can keep that level (no small assumption now that he has a huge long-term contract)he should be able to stick at first for as long as they need him to.
   26. ian Posted: June 02, 2008 at 04:01 AM (#2802786)
I haven't kept up with this, but wasn't Guillen a good SS for a while? Is he horrible now? Because if not, it would seem like the best move to put him back there and do something with Renteria--either move him to the OF or sit him.

Guillen would be better used at DH than Shortstop. I can't find Dial's cumulative ratings for 2007, so:

Guillen
Ultimate Zone Rating data which was released in July had Guillen rated at -26 runs per 150 games... Of course Guillen would be a longshot to make it 150 games at short, but if he did the result would likely be worse than -26 runs.
   27. The Ghost of Sox Fans Past Posted: June 02, 2008 at 04:31 AM (#2802800)
I'm under the impression that Inge is pretty good at third, and I saw Guillen botch something there earlier this weekend. Sticking Brandon there and leaving Cabrera at first gives Carlos left field, where he looked too much like Manny today, but he should be able to improve.

Leyland should consider himself lucky that he has viable hitters who are willing and able to move around the diamond. Trying to do that in Seattle means playing Miguel Cairo or Willie Bloomquist.
   28. vortex of dissipation Posted: June 02, 2008 at 07:05 AM (#2802816)
I can't think of too many outfielders who made successful switches to third base or second base, or even tougher, shortstop.


The greatest example of that would have to be Honus Wagner, who came up as an outfielder, and played for a few years as a everyday utility player before sticking at shortstop.
   29. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 02, 2008 at 11:37 AM (#2802825)
"Moving catchers to the outfield can be a recipe for disaster (Manny Sanguillen, Carlton Fisk, and Todd Hundley come to mind)."

Jason Kendall didn't take to the position too well, either.
   30. Danny Posted: June 02, 2008 at 11:54 AM (#2802828)
Ultimate Zone Rating data which was released in July had Guillen rated at -26 runs per 150 games... Of course Guillen would be a longshot to make it 150 games at short, but if he did the result would likely be worse than -26 runs.

That was just from a few months in 2007. From 2003 through mid-2007, UZR has Guillen as -8 per 150 games at SS (-27 runs total at SS over that span).
   31. MikeinMI Posted: June 02, 2008 at 12:13 PM (#2802836)
The Tigers need to put Cabrera in LF and Guillen at 1b. Guillen will pull a hammy running for a ball in LF. He usually hurts himself while running, playing SS didn't injure him.

The Tigers TV announcers made it seem temporary yesterday, that when Guillen's hemmeroids are better he'll go back to third base. I am wondering if the Tigers pitchers pitch better knowing that Inge is at 3b for a while.
   32. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: June 02, 2008 at 12:54 PM (#2802852)
Howard Johnson was a failure in center field
And who can forget the Juan Samuel to CF experience?
   33. Greg Franklin Posted: June 02, 2008 at 06:58 PM (#2803151)
Reviews were positive for Guillen's first day in left:

Guillen caught four fly balls, none of them a difficult play. He made a few of the catches one-handed, capped by a flourishing sweep of his glove, like a conductor giving the downbeat. It was a slightly slower version of Rickey Henderson's fabled catching panache.

" 'Guillen Henderson,' " Inge said. "I was laughing so hard.


Myself, I am just mystified at watching a manager that makes an unorthodox plan, explains it to the media, gets guys to buy into it (Inge was thrilled to return to 3B), and executes on it. Such a contrast to the man who has silently chosen Miguel Cairo to be his everyday first baseman because of his gut feeling that Cairo is hitting well and saves a run a game with his glove.
   34. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: June 02, 2008 at 07:04 PM (#2803160)
At age 25, when only a few years ago he was fit and trim. Maybe the DH will prolong his career, but I wouldn't be surprised if he were barely hanging on at 31-32, with everyone wondering what might have been.

I have the distinct feeling that Cabrera is taking the Andruw Jones career path. Big playoff performances at 19, stardom in early 20s, nearly done in their early 30s. I generally shy away from questioning a player's age, but it may be apt for both of these guys.

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