Spring training is officially in full force. With position players all in camp, the Tigers held their first workout Tuesday. Everyone's favorite 5-year-old first baseman Miguel Cabrera can get back to sneaking up on his teammates when they least expected it.
It's a fun time for everyone. Well, almost.
Some wondered if it might get a bit awkward, with Carlos Guillen returning to camp to find his spot in left field was handed to Johnny Damon before the ink even dried on the contract.
The answer, thankfully, is no.
Guillen told the media he's quite fine with how the offseason went for the Tigers and he's happy to hand the outfield position over and serve as the team's primary designated hitter. Quoting MLB.com's Jason Beck:
"We're trying to win," Guillen said Tuesday morning. "We're trying to get better. When he gets here, obviously the team looks better."
The Freep's John Lowe adds to the story with another quote:
"I’m excited — with Johnny here, everything looks better," Guillen said. "We’re not looking for Carlos Guillen to play every day in leftfield. We’re looking to make this team better.
"I was surprised he was available at this point of the year, so it’s good for us. I think it makes a lot of people happy."
This is exactly what I expected of Guillen. When he spoke out in October, it seemed out of character. Guillen has always struck me as a guy who puts the team first and stays under-the-radar with the press. I was quite surprised.
But I assumed when a player of Damon's caliber was added to the team, Guillen would get back to playing the good teammate and put on a good face. I'm glad I was right.
It's what makes rooting for Guillen so easy.
More spring training news on Casey Fien and others follows.
The second person affected by the addition of Damon was Casey Fien, a 26-year-old right handed reliever. Fien was designated for assignment to make room for Damon on the 40-man roster.
"I get it. "This is a business. There were four of five of us knowing it could be us, so I was half-expecting it."
Fien is one of those young relievers who looked like he could be a part of Detroit's future. For the past two spring training camps, he won prize from Leyland. But he never really made the next step in his limited chances in the major leagues.
He had a 7.94 ERA (5.39 FIP) in just 11 1/3 innings. (His Triple-A FIP? 2.92.) The last part is reason enough not to give up on him. And if he clears waivers, the Tigers will gladly put him back in Triple-A and see what happens.
Otherwise, Detroit has plenty of relief pitchers bubbling up in the system, like right-handed non-roster invitee Robbie Weinhardt. So he was one of the most disposable players on the 40-man roster, unfortunately for Mr. Fien and his fans.
The final shoe to drop on the Damon signing probably won't come until it's time to figure out who the 25th player on the roster is.
In other news:
- Freep: Laird: Charges being removed from record
- Freep: Damon: I sought opinion of Willis
- Beck's Blog: Dontrelle: I'm no recruiter
- Beck's Blog: Leyland raving about prospects: "There's guys hitting balls over trees, way over trees. ... When you have veterans doing double-takes to watch a kid hit, that's usually a pretty good measuring stick."
BaseballAmerica.com: The Complete Top 100 Prospects List -- The Tigers had three on the list: Jacob Turner at 26, Casey Crosby at 47, Austin Jackson at 76
And finally, th best headline of spring training so far comes courtesy of the Detroit News: Gene Lamont runs over Jim Leyland's foot with golf cart; Lamont still employed