Friday, September 28, 2007

Carlos Guillen will be at 1st base in '08: The first of many shoes to drop

With 3 games left in the season, there's a feeling that the Tigers off season maneuvering has already begun. The first shoe to drop was announced late this afternoon. According to the fishwrap beat writers, it's all but official that Carlos Guillen will be the Tigers 1st baseman next year.

Shows what I know, as I was sure that Guillen would play at least 1 more season at short. It also means that Sean Casey is done as a Detroit Tiger, which was assumed anyway. The Mayor has little use as a bench player, with his lack of power, speed, and position flexibility. Great guy, had some nice moments as a Tiger, but is on the downside as a player. He'll be missed in the clubhouse.

Now that the tribute to Casey is out of the way, the big question on all Tigers fan's minds is, of course, who takes over at shortstop? Obviously the Tigers have an idea as to who that will be.

Will the new shortstop come via free agency? I doubt it, as pickings are more than slim... (I'm not even going to bother with Alex Rodriguez, as wonderful as that is to contemplate)

David Eckstein (33) - He's supposed to be "Scrappy" and a "Hard-working." At least that's what we were told all through the 2006 World Series... That's nice and all, but does he stand out, performance-wise, in any way? No. If anything, he's the type of player who will decline quickly, as "Hustle" and "Grit" will only take you so far.

Cesar Izturis (28) - ($5.45MM club option for '08) - Hasn't been a full time player for over 3 seasons, and never has been much with the bat. Let alone he couldn't beat out Jack Wilson, of all people. 'Nuff said.

Juan Uribe (29) - ($5MM club option for '08) - At that price, I don't see the White Sox letting him go.

Omar Vizquel (41) - He's OLD! To be fair, Vizquel was a very good player for a very long time, but has declined severely this season. Plus, he's OLD!

Yep, that's real slim pickings.

In house, there is only one realistic option..

Ramon Santiago (28) - Your quintessential slick fielding - light hitting shortstop, best suited for backup duty. Though he's had a hot September, we've seen enough of him to know he won't hit enough to consider him as Guillen's replacement. Santiago is the 25th man on most any team's roster, unless it's the 2003 Tigers...

OK, what about a trade? The names being bandied about have been...

Jack Wilson - The Tigers were supposedly deeply interested in the highly overpaid Wilson at the trade deadline. Has had a good season since, which has bumped up his BA, but the general consensus is that Wilson basically...Sucks. Especially at $7MM+ a season.

Miguel Tejada
(32) - Still a very good player, but will be expensive in both the cost in prospects, and in size of contract. Plus he's on the same tack as Guillen, losing his range at short, and on track to be playing elsewhere on the field in a year or two. Still, he's intriguing as a short term solution, if you could squeeze a couple seasons out of him at short.

Edgar Renteria (33) - What I said about Tejada also applies, in that he's not cheap, and will come at a cost in prospects / players. Overall though, Renteria is the most logical target fir the Tigers, if the Braves are willing to trade. He can still hit respectably, field well, has 1 year plus a club option year left on his contract, and is relatively young. There is also the fact that he played for Jim Leyland and Dave Dombrowski with the Marlins.

Out of all the possible scenarios, Renteria to Detroit makes too much sense not to happen...

I still think that the Guillen to 1st base move weakens 2 positions. Offensively, Guillen is elite at short, but as a 1st baseman, at best, only above average. Admittedly, he did look slick with the glove, but 1st base is first and foremost an offensive position.

Odds are whomever the Tigers get to play short won't hit near as well as Guillen. Actually, if the Tigers acquire any one other than Tejada, that's a certainty.

The Tigers must have someone in mind. That someone is supposed to be good enough for Guillen to have given his blessing, and voluntarily leave the shortstop position. My money is on Renteria, with Tejada the 2nd choice. God help us all if it's Wilson, Eckstein, or worse...

1 comment:

  1. Hey TWFE readers, don't you think BIG Al should trade us Larry Fitz for Drew Brees in our fantasy league? He needs a qb and Fitz aint done nuttin.

    Pull the trigger Al!