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Tigers' fielding improving in 2013

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Read my column in today's News!

USA TODAY Sports

It's no secret the Tigers fielding was bad last year. But it would be lazy to believe that they'll continue fielding so awful again this year.

Depending on your choice metric -- and let's face it, "eyes" would have served as a pretty good metric with the 2012 club, too -- Detroit's defense was either bad, really bad or downright awful. You had Prince Fielder lumbering at first, big Miguel Cabrera learning third, a mish-mash of second baseman, none of whom were any good, a statue at shortstop, the comedic talents of Delmon Young getting way too many innings at one corner outfield position, and the woeful play of Brennan Boesch in the other corner.

Sometimes you hear the defense is still awful. I just do not find that to be the case.

To wit:

* Omar Infante will earn most innings at second base. By any metric, he's a heck of a lot better than Ryan Raburn, Ramon Santiago, the hopeful "hit it here" sign at second base.

* Torii Hunter is an above-average defender. He'll be a full time outfielder. Boesch was way below average by any metric. Huge net improvement there.

* Andy Dirks will get quite a few innings across the field from Hunter. Compare that to Young.

You can argue the infield wont' be much changed beyond Infante. A fair point. We'll see if Cabrera shows improvement over his play last year. It wasn't awful, but his lack of mobility next to Peralta's lack of mobility certainly costs the Tigers. But we're not trying to debate the Tigers to being a great defense. They're just not a bad one any more.

When you've got the ability to score runs like they do and the pitching that they do, that's truly all you need.

Check out the column, let me know what you think.