Thursday, February 5, 2015

And NOW what?? (with solutions to the potential First Base dilemma)

Victor Martinez

With the news that Victor Martinez will require surgery next week, to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, and Miguel Cabrera questionable to be ready to play on Opening Day, 2015 as he returns from his ankle surgery. The Detroit Tigers are left with a fairly simple what?

Miguel Cabrera
Martinez and his 198 games and 1,500+  innings at first base, and Cabrera and his 724 games and 6,000+ innings may both not be ready, Martinez almost certainly won't be.

Alex Avila
The Tigers are left with exactly 1 inning played at First Base on their 40-man roster- and that single, solitary inning belongs to catcher Alex Avila.

On the 2014 roster, Brad Ausmus had options with Cabrera, Martinez, Don Kelly, and even Don Werth. Werth and Kelly are now gone, and with Martinez and Cabrera very questionable for the start of the season, Ausmus now faces a dilemma.
Jordan Lennerton

Ausmus has stated, that he's confident that the Tigers have options regarding 1B and DH, already in place.  Avila could start, occasionally at first, along with Romine, and minor leaguers Jordan Lennerton and Aaron Westlake also being options.

Aaron Westlake
A solution that makes sense to me is not to give playing time at first to Avila, but instead, to move Nick Castellanos across the diamond to first and start Jose Iglesias at third, with Andrew Romine taking the field at shortstop.

Iglesias, early in his career with the Boston Red Sox, the 2010 Baseball America Prospect Handbook stated about Iglesias: " When he had to play some third base in the AFL, he handled hot smashes so easily he looked like he had been at the hot corner for years." 
Jose Iglesias at 3rd vs Boston in 2013

So moving Iglesias to 3B, keeping Romine at short, and giving Castellanos time at first base is a logical step to keep an improved Tigers infield defense in tact for the start of 2015.

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