"It's amazing. Because every lineup I've written down so far, (Miguel) Cabrera and (Prince) Fielder are in that lineup."
Tigers manager Jim Leyland has had a happy couple of days in filling out imaginary lineup cards. This is the one he recited during the Tigers' press conference held today to announce the signing of Prince Fielder:
1. Austin Jackson (RH)
2. Brennan Boesch (LH)
3. Miguel Cabrera (RH)
4. Prince Fielder (LH)
5. Delmon Young (RH)
6. Alex Avila (LH)
7. Jhonny Peralta (RH)
Basically, Leyland said a combination of Clete Thomas(!), Andy Dirks, Ramon Santiago, Don Kelly, Ryan Raburn and Brandon Inge, as needed would fill out the eight and nine spots. Obviously we know this is a lineup only in theory, because Leyland tends to use quite a few over the course of the year, since players do get their rest days.
"We're going to have tremendous flexibility with this roster," Leyland said. "It's going to be a very fun roster to manage."
People can say what they will about team speed, but Leyland knows the team he has isn't a fast one and -- thankfully -- doesn't have to be. "If they hit them where they're supposed to hit them, they can trot around the bases," Leyland said.
"But I've told everyone forever, I’d rather have a slow guy who can hit than a fast guy who can’t," Leyland said. "We’re a doubles team,. That’s Dave (Dombrowski)'s favorite hit in baseball. We’re not really a manufacture type team. Any good manager, you manage the people you have to get the best out of them. The players’ job is not to adjust to the manager’s style, it’s the manager's job to adjust to the players' style."
This is a separate upcoming story, but Cabrera is slated to play third base in Leyland's lineup. Brandon Inge will appear at third on some days as well. Leyland does not anticipate using Inge as a defensive replacement for Cabrera in late-game situations, however.
So what would you do with your lineups?
Everyone in unison: Why, I thought he'd never ask!