Here's a glimpse back at Miguel Cabrera in the 2008 season. But 1st lets get all the stupid excuses out of the way.
- New team, new teammates, new fans, new league, new cities, new ballparks. Everything was new to Cabrera in Detroit. It took him some time to acclimate.
- It was March/April, so we were dealing with some cold weather also. Being that he played in Florida, he might not of been used to the chill in the air and the extra layers of clothes. 50F Degree weather might be warm to Michiganders, but to a Floridian that's bone chilling cold.
- On the 10th game of the season Cabrera played his 1st game ever at 1B. At that point, he's probably spending most of his practice time learning a new position, instead of honing his skills at 3B.
- At that time, Cabrera's batting average was .182. So it wasn't just his fielding that was off.
- Carlos Guillen was terrible at fielding balls thrown to him at 1B. So if somebody's throw was just a little off, there would probably be an error charged to someone. Prince Fielder knows hows to play 1B, so maybe he can prevent some of those throwing errors.
Now to the play-by-play in which Cabrera committed an error:
|Kansas City - Top of 1st||SCORE|
|Justin Verlander pitching for Detroit||KC||DET|
|D DeJesus grounded out to first.||0||0|
|M Grudzielanek safe at first on throwing error by third baseman M Cabrera.||0||0|
|M Grudzielanek stole second.||0||0|
|A Gordon struck out looking.||0||0|
|J Guillen popped out to second.||0||0|
|0 Runs, 0 Hits, 1 Errors|
Error #2, Game 7, April 8th: 46 F degrees. @ Boston
|Boston - Bottom of 4th||SCORE|
|Kenny Rogers pitching for Detroit||DET||BOS|
|C Crisp grounded out to pitcher.||0||2|
|J Lugo reached on infield single to third, J Lugo to second on throwing error by third baseman M Cabrera.||0||2|
|D Pedroia singled to center, J Lugo to third.||0||2|
|K Youkilis hit sacrifice fly to center, J Lugo scored.||0||3|
|D Ortiz flied out to left.||0||3|
|1 Runs, 2 Hits, 1 Errors|
Error #3, Game 8, April 9: 50 F Degrees @ Boston
|Boston - Bottom of 3rd||SCORE|
|Jeremy Bonderman pitching for Detroit||DET||BOS|
|K Youkilis safe at first on throwing error by third baseman M Cabrera.||0||2|
|D Ortiz popped out to second.||0||2|
|M Ramirez flied out to center.||0||2|
|S Casey doubled to right, K Youkilis to third.||0||2|
|J Drew grounded out to pitcher.||0||2|
|0 Runs, 1 Hits, 1 Errors|
Error #4, Game April 14th: 48 F Degrees vs Minnesota
|Minnesota - Top of 5th||SCORE|
|Jeremy Bonderman pitching for Detroit||MIN||DET|
|M Lamb safe at first on throwing error by third baseman M Cabrera.||2||0|
|A Everett flied out to center.||2||0|
|C Gomez grounded into fielder's choice to third, M Lamb out at second.||2||0|
|C Gomez stole second.||2||0|
|D Span grounded out to shortstop.||2||0|
|0 Runs, 0 Hits, 1 Errors|
Error #5, Game 17 April 19th: 59F Degrees @ Toronto
|Toronto - Bottom of 5th||SCORE|
|Jeremy Bonderman pitching for Detroit||DET||TOR|
|A Hill doubled to deep center.||1||2|
|A Rios struck out swinging.||1||2|
|V Wells safe at second on error by third baseman M Cabrera, A Hill scored.||1||3|
|M Stairs intentionally walked.||1||3|
|R Barajas grounded into fielder's choice to shortstop, M Stairs out at second, V Wells to third.||1||3|
|L Overbay flied out to left.||1||3|
|1 Runs, 1 Hits, 1 Errors|
That's it. Cabrera hasn't played a game at 3B since.
He played just 14 games, 116 innings, made 5 errors, 4 which were throwing errors, and cost the team 2 unearned runs. Prorated over a full-162 game season that would be 22 unearned runs. If we can channel half the blame to Carlos Guillen's lack of experience at 1B, then it's only 11 unearned runs per season. ( Last season, the Tigers gave up 64 unearned runs). So maybe fielding ground balls isn't Cabrera's main concern, it's throwing the balls accurately to 1st base. Hopefully Prince Fielder gives him a bigger target to throw at.
How many runs did Cabrera's lack of range cost us is the other part of the equation. His lifetime UZR/150 at 3B is -4.5 runs, in 3273.2 innings. That's below average, but not terrible by any means. What that means to the Tigers this season, I don't know. He's not the same player he was back then.
What I do know is that last season, we got just 63 runs and 54 RBI's from our combination of 3B's (Inge/Betemit/Kelly/ect). Cabrera had 111 runs and 105 RBI's. Miggy had almost double the offensive production that we got at 3B. Miggy is also significantly better at hitting than any other 3B in either the AL or NL league.
Another advantage of moving Miggy to 3B is that we won't have to worry about who sits when we play in NL ballparks. How much better are the Tigers now? At worst, we should be able to win 95 games again. At best, we play like 2nd half Tigers, that went 46-24, with a .657 winning pct after the All-Star break. If that is sustainable we could be a 106 win team. That's if Fielder makes up for VMart, Betemit, and Ordonez.