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: Aug 2, 2011
Posted on: January 21, 2012 6:55 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Cabrera or Gonzalez?

Cabrera with his age and home run abiltiy is the reason I'd have him at the Angels, batting behind Morales and Pujols would give the Angels runs on the board and increase the RBI numbers Cabrera gets. Defensively we are strong otherwise I would take Gonzalez.



Since: Aug 25, 2006
Posted on: January 21, 2012 6:44 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Cabrera or Gonzalez?

I too am a big fan of baseball history. I used to dream of having a time machine and being able to go to the past and watch Gerhig, Foxx, etc., but then I realized that's all in the past and it already played itself out. There are so many golden ages to go. stop living in the past, man!!
It is in the past and willing ignorance of the past is a huge problem with this country.  No one is "living in the past."  Showing the slightest respect and knowledge for those that played before you were born would do a lot to help the really ignorant sports arguments where lists of greatest players of all time only include people who played in the past 10 years.  The sports journalist can't keep calling Pujols, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, or whoever is the flavor of the month/year/decade "greatest ever."  Mariano Rivera is the only current player that comes to mind who is clearly the "greatest of all time" at what he does.

Seeing Ripken (although a great player that I have no beef with), McGwire (who hit the ball a long ways with a little help and a few of the other more recent players on the all century team was a disgrace.



Since: Feb 2, 2009
Posted on: January 21, 2012 6:33 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Cabrera or Gonzalez?

miggys is the 2nd best hitter in baseball, behind pujols. no other player has been as dominant in the mlb over the past 8 years than pujols, but miggy comes awfully close.



Since: Dec 17, 2007
Posted on: January 21, 2012 6:31 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Cabrera or Gonzalez?

Thank God i have both of these studs on my keeper team. Two special bats for sure... Miggy is better IMO.



Since: Oct 16, 2007
Posted on: January 21, 2012 6:12 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Cabrera or Gonzalez?

this has been a great series and I've enjoyed it but this seems to be one of the simplest ones. If I am building a team from scratch and get first choice of sticks, its Miggy all the way ( sorry Albert ) I figured rosecrans would have Miggy against Albert, and AGon against Tex or somethingI have Agon in my keeper pool so I'm not slagging him but I've stubbornly bid for and got Miggy in my yearly auction pool for generally the high $50's and havn't yet regretted it,Hondo



Since: May 28, 2007
Posted on: January 21, 2012 5:48 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Cabrera or Gonzalez?

miguel is 2nd best hitter in baseball behind pujols.i'll take him,gonzo is tough though.



Since: May 22, 2007
Posted on: January 21, 2012 5:48 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Cabrera or Gonzalez?

I think Miguel Cabrera has other issues besdes weight. The Tiger slugger also has an alcohol problem, which has caused him quite a bit of grief. That's not something that goes away and you're never really cured. So, that's his disadvantage and Adrian Gonzalez of the Red Sox doesn't really have any weaknesses. He hits for power, average and can gather RBIs. I don't know why we keep seeing these comparisons of two really good players. They must be starved for baseball news.



Since: Dec 29, 2011
Posted on: January 21, 2012 5:32 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Cabrera or Gonzalez?

If Cabrera could keep his weight under control as well as his off field demons, he would be my choice. Honestly, I doubt he can do both. I therefore would select Gonzalez in the long term.



Since: Jan 7, 2012
Posted on: January 21, 2012 5:29 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Cabrera or Gonzalez?

When A-gon hits the 30+ homers this year they will be even.  They both are solid across the board, and when I say solid + numbers across the board.  Miggy might have an advantage with homers but A-gon has advantage with his gold glove defense.  Since A-gon is a red sox I have to go with him... I'd take either.  This is alot like the Cano and Pedroia comparison...they each has maybe 1 thing better than the other and are even in every other aspect.  If they can knock in 100+ and score 80-90 runs at any position they are great to have.  Remeber Adam Dunn knocked 40+ homers a year but struck out 180+ and the Reds didnt win with him.  So homers, when taken into context of team performance(wins) is the important thing and are a slightly overrated stat except for cheers and fantasy baseball.



Since: Dec 29, 2011
Posted on: January 21, 2012 5:28 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Cabrera or Gonzalez?

You can't call this the "Golden Age" of first baseman when another era had Gerhrig, Foxx, et al. all playing together.  Sports writers create such an ignorance of the past by overhyping the abilities of current players or players who played during their own lifetime. 


I too am a big fan of baseball history. I used to dream of having a time machine and being able to go to the past and watch Gerhig, Foxx, etc., but then I realized that's all in the past and it already played itself out. There are so many golden ages to go. stop living in the past, man!!


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