Monday, October 19, 2009
Tigers set in LF in 2010
Mack Avenue Tigers' Kurt Mensching on some some early 2010 lineup news:
Manager Jim Leyland has apparently penciled in Carlos Guillen as the "full-time" left fielder for 2010, MLB.com's Jason Beck reports in a follow-up story to Guillen's complaints over the weekend about how last season turned out. (My displeasure at the way Guillen hit in the final five weeks should be a separate story.)--snip--
Do the Tigers have any good young players? Other than Miguel Cabrera, I mean?
Guillen expressed frustration after losing his position at shortstop, first base and third base before ending up in left field. It's all in Beck's story. I'm going to try to give Guillen the benefit of the doubt and hope he'll eventually express regret (at least privately) over dealing with all this in the media.
But in the meantime, the idea of Guillen being handed the starting job in left field after complaining publicly just leaves me annoyed. He does have a right to be frustrated, but he has to remember that he's not the young pup he used to be. His skills are declining with age and injuries, and he's not going to be able to produce the results he once could. His team has to play him accordingly in the future if it wants to win.
Cabrera, who turns 27 next April, is two years younger than anyone else slated for an every-day role in 2010. Of course, the real problem isn't that Detroit's hitters are old; it's that they're not real good. Guillen wasn't awful down the stretch -- batting average aside, he actually hit pretty well -- and I'm not at all convinced that Ryan Raburn would have been better against right-handed pitchers than Guillen was. But you want more from your left fielder (and for that matter your right fielder) than "not awful."
It's certainly possible that Guillen and Magglio Ordonez and Curtis Granderson will all hit in 2010 like they hit in 2008. But does that seem at all likely to you? The Tigers finished 10th in the league in scoring this year, and will be lucky to improve more than one or two spots next year. Without a big move or two, anyway. And it doesn't serve the cause to tell Carlos Guillen in October that his job is already ensured for at least the first month or two of the season.