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Tigers sign ex-Wolverine Mike Cervenak

Mike Cervenak signed to play third base for the Toledo Mud Hens

Searching for a backup to the best player in baseball
Searching for a backup to the best player in baseball
Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

The Tigers signed Mike Cervenak according to John Wagner of the Toledo Blade. Cervenak is in his 15th minor league season after playing collegiately for the University of Michigan. He had a cup of coffee with the Phillies in 2008, but should not be considered a prospect. Cervenak has played every position except catcher in the minors, but is primarily a first baseman who can play third.

Coming a few days after the return of third baseman Francisco Martinez to the organization, what does this mean? Miguel Cabrera is signed for a few more years, and Fielder basically forever. Prince is baseball's latest ironman, but if he were to be hurt there are other good options. Victor Martinez would be first in line, and Jordan Lennerton is raking at Toledo. Cabrera could slide back to first, but Leyland would likely leave him at third. If Cabrera were unavailable to play third, or leave after 2015, there would be a larger hole to fill.

In the short run, third base would likely be plugged with a Don Kelly, Matt Tuiasosopo, and Ramon Santiago. Over the course of a season, you are looking at a loss of 10 wins. I guess Dave Dombrowski should be thinking about this position. Toledo does not have much to offer. Corey Jones was not being given much of a chance and was sent down to Erie. I had hope for Kevin Russo, signed in the offseason to challenge for the spot that went to Tuiasosopo, but he is hitting .169. All the Danny Worth fans would love to see him slide over to third, or push Peralta to third, but Worth is hitting .136 and has been hurt.

Looking further down the chain, Erie has Wade Gaynor hitting .223. The Tigers' minor league options for the middle infield have improved, but third base is still a black hole. Signing Cervenak simply provides a reasonable option in the minors. Francisco Martinez has a better chance of being around for a few years.