Miguel Cabrera's hot corner debate

Updated: January 28, 2012, 11:11 AM ET
By Buster Olney

During the past couple of days, some rival executives have debated whether the Detroit Tigers are serious about playing Miguel Cabrera at third base, or if this is just early lip service until they get to spring training and Jim Leyland gets a chance to sit down with the slugger to tell him it's not happening.

"There's no way they go with that," said one highly ranked NL exec. "It can't work."

But Leyland has flatly insisted that Cabrera can be his third baseman. He did so on "Mike & Mike" on Friday morning, and later talked to Tom Gage of the Detroit News. From Tom's story:

    If Cabrera has merely agreed, he's taking one for the team. Whenever something goes wrong, in that case, he could resent the switch. Or begin to resent it.

    But if Cabrera really wants to move back to his former position, he'll fight through any obstacles.

    On Friday, after a rough drive to his home outside Pittsburgh, manager Jim Leyland left no doubt about Cabrera's willingness to switch.

    "I think he wants to show the world he can play third base," Leyland said. "I don't think this is going to be bad. He told me he wants to play there."

    Enough said?

    The Tigers would not have signed Fielder without Cabrera's willingness to switch. They also would not have signed him without being convinced Cabrera's willingness was real.
    Here's more:
    [A]nd it won't require a body makeover for him to do it. The Tigers won't ask him to lose a lot of weight.

    "Everybody is all hung up on what he looks like and the fact he's heavy," Leyland said. "Sure, I want him to lose a little bit of weight, but I'll tell you what, not too much.

    "When you get conscious of your weight, you can lose strength along with weight. You can lose some self-confidence, too, and maybe you don't perform as well. That's no good."