Blog Entry

Would You Rather Have: Cabrera or Gonzalez?

Posted on: January 21, 2012 1:15 pm
Edited on: January 22, 2012 10:55 am
 

By C. Trent Rosecrans

You could argue we're living in the golden age of first basemen. Of the last 12 MVPs, five have gone to first baseman, and four different ones (Albert Pujols, Joey Votto, Ryan Howard and Justin Morneau), to boot. And that list doesn't even include Prince Fielder or either of the two first basemen we're looking at today -- Detroit's Miguel Cabrera and Boston's Adrian Gonzalez.

Both slugging first basemen are younger than 30 (at least until May, when Gonzalez hits the big 3-0) and both rose to the majors by the time they were 22, although Gonzalez didn't become a star until he was traded to San Diego in 2006, while Cabrera came up as a third baseman and outfielder and got MVP votes as a 20-year-old rookie. Now, though, both are among the game's best and expected to pick up an MVP any time now.

The case for Cabrera

This isn't too tough to make -- Cabrera won the American League batting title with a .344 average and also had the league's best on-base percentage (.448) for the second consecutive season. He also hit 30 homers and led the majors with 48 doubles. He has a career OPS+ of 149 and had a 181 OPS+ last season, better even than his league-leading 178 in 2010. Here's a guy who is 33 homers from 300 and has a lifetime slash line of .317/.395/.555. The guy's bat is just special.

The case for Gonzalez

Would You Rather Have
A lot was expected of Gonzalez in his first season in Boston and it says something about his ability if his .338/.410/.548 season in his first year in a new league and in the toughest division in baseball was seen as something of a disappointment (but short of an MVP and World Series MVP, nothing was going to reach the lofty expectations of Red Sox fans coming into 2011). Gonzalez's 27 homers was his lowest total since 2006, his first full season in the big leagues, but he still led baseball with 213 hits and his 45 doubles ranked sixth in the league.

Not only is Gonzalez one of the best offensive players in the game, he's won four consecutive Gold Gloves, winning the award in both leagues.

As for the contract status, both players are more than fairly compensated, with Cabrera due to make $86 million over the next four seasons and Gonzalez signed through the 2018 season for a cool $154 million.

Our call

While Gonzalez is a very good player, Cabrera has the chance to be an all-time great. Gonzalez has better defense, but we're talking first base here, not shortstop. There would be some worry about Cabrera's off-the-field problems, but he's bounced back from those and he's never played less than 150 games since becoming a regular as a 21-year-old in 2004. He's the choice, no matter if he's a first baseman or a DH, because his bat is just that good.

Fan Vote: Would you rather have Cabrera or Gonzalez on your favorite team?



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Comments

Since: Sep 14, 2006
Posted on: January 22, 2012 11:03 am
 

Would You Rather Have: Cabrera or Gonzalez?

MikeD5405 wrote: "he has put up solid BA numbers -- he is a career .293 hitter, but when you look at it as a whole."


Until last year, A-Gon played for the Padres... and in spacious Petco Park for most of his career. Putting up any sort of numbers under those 2 conditions should tell you something about A-Gon's potential. The former (i.e. playing for the AAA Padres) didn't afford him any protection in the line-up nor much opportunities to drive in runs (Padres haven't hit much in the last decade). The latter (Petco) just isn't a hitter friendly park. Look at his home vs. road stats during the Padre years. A-Gon was ripping up the AL until he got banged up last year. It will continue this year and beyond. Great hitter... and Gold Glover!



Since: Jun 10, 2011
Posted on: January 22, 2012 10:53 am
 

Would You Rather Have: Cabrera or Gonzalez?

Detr0ittigs1 - uh, how is this inaccurate? Let's take a look at the similarities, shall we?


Jones:
Young superstar that got his start playing for a playoff team at a young age
Put up huge numbers throughout his 20s and had everyone thinking "HOF"
Got a big contract, lost discipline, and start sucking
Fell short of expectations by getting fat, slow, and a complete defensive liability while losing bat-speed
Is now a DH without a chance at the HOF


Miggy:
Young superstar that got his start playing for a playoff team at a young age
Put up huge numbers throughout his 20s and had everyone thinking "HOF"
Got a big contract, lost discipline, and became an alcoholic who bailed on his team during a one-game playoff
Is getting fat, slow, and is a complete defensive liability
Is now a DH with still a chance at the HOF

Andruw Jones tailed off quite a bit faster than did Cabrera and frankly I think/hope that Miggy doesnt ruin his HOF chances the way Jones did. I think Miggy still has a good shot at the HOF if he keeps his head right, but that's a big IF. I actually like both players - no Detroit bias here, you troll - but if Cabrera reverts back to his 2009/2010 days of stupidity, he's gonna blow his chance just like Andruw did.


Now get off the public computer my tax dollars are paying for you to use, Tiger fan.   



Since: Mar 21, 2010
Posted on: January 22, 2012 7:02 am
 

Would You Rather Have: Cabrera or Gonzalez?

Remember he puts up those numbers in a pitchers ballpark to.
LionsLoseAgain that is an excellent point in making the case for Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera for his entire career (this includes his time with the Florida Marlins [now the Miami Marlins]) has played in a pitcher friendly ballpark and has put up awesome numbers. As a matter of fact in each of the last 2 seasons he has an OPS over 1.000 (1.042 in 2010 and 1.034 in 2011). Adrian Gonzalez who played most of his career in a pitcher friendly ballpark before moving to a hitter friendly ballpark last season hs never had an OPS over 1.000 in his career.
Besides the numbers another reason why my preference in this debate would be to chose Cabrera is because he is a proven winner as his World Series titles shows.



Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: January 22, 2012 5:07 am
 

Would You Rather Have: Cabrera or Gonzalez?

gmen 2012. The guy said keeper league which is completely different than a yearly league. In my one keeper league I have Mike Napoli, Joey Votto, Dustin Pedroia, Ryan Zimmerman, Troy Tulowitzki, Justin Upton, Jason Heyward, Jesus Montero, Mike Trout and Byrce Harper as my hitters. This is a keeper league meaning built over time.



Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: January 22, 2012 2:53 am
 

Would You Rather Have: Cabrera or Gonzalez?

"Ill take the guy who looks like he takes his health and fitness seriously *ahem*"  --peglegfury  

I'll take Babe Ruth. "For a fat man, he sure can run."





Since: Apr 10, 2008
Posted on: January 22, 2012 1:11 am
 

Would You Rather Have: Cabrera or Gonzalez?

Cabrera for fantasy and Gonzalez in the real world.



Since: May 29, 2009
Posted on: January 22, 2012 1:08 am
 

Would You Rather Have: Cabrera or Gonzalez?

After going thru and studying the numbers for the two players -- It really isn't as close as I thought.  For some reason I thought AGon always hit for average like he did last year.

In reality, he has put up solid BA numbers -- he is a career .293 hitter, but when you look at it as a whole -- Cabrera has had only one season when he didn't hit at least .293 (and that season he hit .292).

As I said before -- you can't really go wrong with either player.  Cabrera has the better bat.  Gonzalez has the better glove.  This one is more of a pick your poison than who would you rather have. 



Since: May 29, 2009
Posted on: January 22, 2012 12:51 am
 

Would You Rather Have: Cabrera or Gonzalez?

And we will see what Cabrera really is made of he has always had protection in the lineup,
Please tell me who Cabrera has had "protecting him".  I can't vouche for when he was with the Marlins, as I did not get to watch any of his games or really follow him too closely.  In Detroit, VMart was the only true bat he has had hitting behind him and that was for one year.

To emphasize how bad it got at one point in Detroit -- Joel Madden actually walked Cabrera to load the bases with 2 outs in back to back to back games.  The move worked each time, as Detroit didn't score in all three instances.  Last year -- VMart put an end to that, as he hit over .400 in ABs after a team walked Cabrera.  That is why VMart is going to be missed so much.



Since: Oct 29, 2010
Posted on: January 22, 2012 12:37 am
 

Would You Rather Have: Cabrera or Gonzalez?

Ill take the guy who looks like he takes his health and fitness seriously *ahem*



Since: May 2, 2010
Posted on: January 22, 2012 12:16 am
 

Would You Rather Have: Cabrera or Gonzalez?

Two of the majors' best slugging first basemen are up for grabs.
??
This makes it sound like they are free agents. Why does the writer use this phrase??


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