Sure, the Tigers' 10-2 win over the Rangers was the main story out of Detroit tonight, but Jim Leyland dropped a wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am in his post-game comments when he revealed that his corner infielders would be switching positions across the field. Carlos Guillen will move from first base to third base, and Miguel Cabrera will switch over to first, where he's alreayd played seven games this season.
Leyland was decisive with his announcement, saying he wasn't going to take any questions about the switch and he was just letting everyone know so there wouldn't be any surprises tomorrow.
Guillen has played 100 games at third base over his career, all of them during his days with the Mariners when one Mr. Alex Rodriguez was entrenched at shortstop in Seattle. I don't know if it's been brought up in the comments here at BYB (if so, I apologize for not giving credit where it's due), but questions as to why Guillen wasn't moved from shortstop to third base in the first place were occasionally raised during the off-season. And they rumbled up again when Guillen was having problems with his footwork at first base, some of them likely caused by wild throws from Cabrera at third.
Leyland says this makes the Tigers "a better team," and I'm inclined to agree with him. Is Guillen Detroit's best defensive third baseman? No, that's Brandon Inge. And we don't know how Guillen's gimpy hamstring (or his playing first base since Spring Training) might affect his mobility at the hot corner. But if Guillen has better range to his left than Cabrera, some of those base hits that have been sneaking between third base and shortstop (excepting when Inge has played third) might find their way into a glove.
So have at it, people. What do you think of this move? Should it have been done sooner? Would you have preferred a different shufflling of positions? Should Inge be at third base, if Leyland was going to make this kind of switch? Do you think this makes the Tigers a better team?
[Thanks to Mike McClary, who passed the news along via instant message as soon as he heard it, and to Grant E., who posted the link to the Detroit News story in tonight's Game Thread.]