The mysteries of which positions Brandon Inge and Carlos Guillen will be playing next season have already been solved. Jim Leyland is getting a head start on the 2009 edition of the Detroit Tigers, announcing a couple of position changes before last night's game.
Inge will be moving back to third base, where he reminded everyone over the past two weeks just how much of a difference his defense can make. And that pushes Guillen out to left field, where he played two games back in early June.
Why make the moves now, Jimmy?
"I'm not going to discuss the reasons," Leyland said prior to the game. "But this is best for the team."
Does this mean Dusty Ryan will be the Tigers' starting catcher next year? Judging from the reports, Leyland didn't say. But he was certainly impressive in his 13-game tryout this month.
This also looks like disappointing news for Matt Joyce, who looked for much of the season like he was staking a claim on left field, but didn't make much of an impression during September. Joyce hadn't posted a home run or RBI since August 25, with his batting average steadily declining, as well.
Does this also end the Marcus Thames era in Detroit? It sure seems likely.
One more note: Kenny Rogers says that if pitches anywhere next year, it will be with the Tigers. Does that mean he'll be back with the team?
We'll have more on these developments later, as information and quotes become available. But for now, what do you think of these moves? Disappointed? Excited? Were they simply inevitable? Does the Tigers' defense already look better for next year?