Last week, Jason Beck began his weekly series of looking at the Tigers by each position leading up to Spring Training with a profile of the team's catchers. This week, he takes a look at Detroit's corner infielders, which have changed drastically from last season.
As you know, Carlos Guillen will be moving from shortstop to first base full-time. And Miguel Cabrera brings his mighty bat up north from Florida. The Tigers should see a significant boost in offensive production, as two of the weaker bats from last season - Sean Casey and Brandon Inge - will be replaced in the lineup.
There's a concern, of course, that the infield defense will suffer without Inge's glove at third base, but the team seems to think Cabrera will put in the necessary work (including playing in the Venezuelan League) to become better at his position.
"We think he can play third," Dombrowski said last month. "He has soft hands. He has a strong arm. Of course, he doesn't have the [same] range [as before]. He's a little bit heavier. I think it'll be important for him when he's in shape. He'll be a little more nimble and agile at that point."
And though Casey had a reputation as a slick-fielding first baseman, Guillen should provide much better range at that position with the skills he brings over from shortstop.
As we talked about earlier this week, however, Inge shouldn't necessarily be scratched from the corner infield mix. If the Tigers aren't able to accommodate him with a trade to a team in need of a third baseman, Inge will very likely be taking his share of ground balls at the hot corner.