Blog Entry

Cabrera has right attitude at 3B but needs work

Posted on: March 4, 2012 3:12 pm
Edited on: March 4, 2012 3:22 pm
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Some might say Tigers superstar Miguel Cabrera is heroic, generous or at the very least team-oriented for giving up first base at a moment's notice and moving to third so the team could sign top free agent Prince Fielder. Not Cabrera, who doesn't see it that way.

"I never had a position, so what's the difference?'' Cabrera said, applying sound logic.

Cabrera actually came to Detroit as a third baseman but was soon switched to first base, where Carlos Guillen was struggling with the nuances of that position. Now Cabrera is going back to third. No matter what happens here -- and he's off to a slow start, with an error here Sunday -- he's the third baseman.

"I feel good [about it],'' Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "He's my third baseman, I like writing his name into the lineup every day. It is what it is.''

What it appears to be is an interesting little imperfection for us to write about on an otherwise superior Tigers team. And it probably is pretty small in the scheme of things. Cabrera has excellent hands and a true arm.

The only issue is his movement, which is undeniably limited. Cabrera was slow going to his left to try to field a grounder by the Braves' David Ross on Sunday, and he wound up booting the ball -- appearing to strain to bend over.

Cabrera joked before the game that he is 330 pounds; he actually is about average for him, somewhere in the high 200s. The Tigers do not seem at all displeased by his shape, round but reasonable.

Cabrera may seem young, but he works hard and he has veteran infielder Rafael Belliard here to work on his technique with him.

"I need to work on it every day. I need to work hard,'' Cabrera said.

The main thing, Belliard said, is to be ready. The ball gets to a third baseman faster than anywhere else on the diamond. Belliard pointed out Cabrera played shortstop at one point, but conceded that was a long time ago. It's even been a couple years for third base. It's a good thing they have all spring.

"We're not asking him to win a Gold Glove,'' Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said.

Even if he can't come close to major-league average even after a long spring of grounders, he's not coming out of games for defense late in games.

"He's a star. I'm not taking my star out,'' Leyland said. "I think that would send the wrong message to Miguel Cabrera, and I'm not doing it.''

More than anyone, Leyland understands the psyche of his players and the importance of it vs. an inning or two of slightly improved defense. That's the right call.

Dombrowski pointed out that Cabrera volunteered to play third base in interleague games last year, and he would have played third in National League cities had they made the World Series. Cabrera has a ways to go to become proficient again. But at least he is willing. That's maybe half the battle.


Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: March 5, 2012 11:28 pm

Cabrera has right attitude at 3B but needs work

Sorry, pal.

You can "side" with Rison all you want.  But that just makes you both wrong.

This is from the Minnestota Twins hitting coach.  I would call him kinda an authoritative figure.

Eli Whiteside - SF Giants.

From a book by the American Baseball Coasches Association.


This article from Ripken baseball talks about unserstanding the "why's" of baseball.  Near the bottom of the column, they talk about understanding why and when to drag bunt.  (They refer to putting the ball down the 3rd base line.)

Not that Mickey Mantle (the best drag bunter ever) didn't drag bunt the way you both seem to be referring to, just understand it's not the only way.

More importantly, understand that a very correct way to exploit a 3rd basebman who does not have the quickness or agility to play the position is to drag bunt on him.  Those that understand this will never be called an "idiot" by anyone in baseball.

Since: Mar 8, 2007
Posted on: March 5, 2012 1:35 pm

Cabrera has right attitude at 3B but needs work

Is this a surprise? Really? I never thought putting him at 3rd was the answer. If he is really 330 pounds he would be lucky to play first base. C'mon man you are a young athlete who gets paid millions.....the guy is going to have to take off 60 pounds throughout the season. He is your full time DH Detroit...Obviously Dombroski had no say in this deal because I respect him as a GM and there is no way he would have paid Fielder and thought these two can co-exist. No mention of the guy who should be mentioned in all this and that is the 82 year old owner who wants to win now. The hell with the mess let someone else clean it up. 

Since: Aug 20, 2006
Posted on: March 5, 2012 12:52 pm

Cabrera has right attitude at 3B but needs work

Actually Carlos Guillen struggled doin anything not associated with being on the DL where he usually was. The Tigers can win that division with a bad infield defense b/c they can mash the ball & Verlander. What are the Twinkies or Royals gonna put on a drag bunt clinic??  The move will hurt as the season wears on Cabrera & into the playoffs.  Should be funny to see smokin Jim Leyland irrate in the dugout runway after Miggy kicks another one or throws it into the crowd. 

Since: Oct 1, 2010
Posted on: March 5, 2012 12:34 pm

Cabrera has right attitude at 3B but needs work

 its easier for a big man to hide out in left field, a la Barry Bonds
You do realise bonds had multiple gold gloves dont you ? Thease guys arent gold glovers , terrible comparison .

Since: Sep 24, 2006
Posted on: March 5, 2012 12:31 pm

Cabrera has right attitude at 3B but needs work

I am going to have to side with Rison on the drag bunt fellas. Squaring around is a sacrifice bunt. If you don't square around you are tying to bunt for a hit, the term drag bunt refers to a lefty dragging the bunt down the right side as he gets a quick step out of the box. So in your drag bunt the right handed batter is falling towards the 3rd bas line as he drags the bunt only to button hook it back to 1st???? I have never heard a announcer call a right hander bunting a drag bunt???

Since: Jan 4, 2012
Posted on: March 5, 2012 12:04 pm

Cabrera has right attitude at 3B but needs work

The most important part of this move isn't his ability to play the third base position.

It is about his desire to make the personal sacrifice to make the team better.

When your superstar sets the tone of personal sacrifice for the betterment of the team you will have a whole season of everyone else making the same type of sacrifices, that usually ends up in a championship.

Having Fielder's bat, and a "team first" attitude all season being led by your superstar will far outweigh whatever defensive shortcomings the Tigers will have at third base due to the move. 

Since: May 12, 2008
Posted on: March 5, 2012 11:38 am

Cabrera has right attitude at 3B but needs work

OMG! He committed an error? In his 2nd Spring Training game? Call the experiment off it's not going to work.  It's not like anybody else makes mistakes in Spring Training.

Since: Mar 9, 2007
Posted on: March 5, 2012 8:59 am

Cabrera has right attitude at 3B but needs work

If Miggy needs to play a position in the field, the Tigers should look to LF rather than 3B. I'm not sure why Cabrera isn't playing first base considering its his team, he's the better hitter, and it was originally his position. Regardless, if Miggy wants to be a team player, its easier for a big man to hide out in left field, a la Barry Bonds, than move back across the diamond this late in his career.

Since: Aug 13, 2006
Posted on: March 5, 2012 1:59 am

Cabrera has right attitude at 3B but needs work


It's good to see someone understands the game of baseball!!  To the poster who called me an idiot, go look at some film of Brett Butler.  One of the best bunters I have ever seen.  He would get a double and the ball would never make it to 3rd base.  That's what you should look at to see a lefty bunting for a hit.  

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: March 5, 2012 12:12 am

Cabrera has right attitude at 3B but needs work

Dear "idiot",

A drag bunt refers to a bunt that is laid down quickly without squaring away - a surprise.  It is especially useful when fat, out of shape superstars are playing third base and have shown that they can not make it in on the play quick enough.  It is most certainly done by both right and left handed batters and can target both sides of the field, but usually tagets the 3rd base line by either handed hitter. 

I would suggest that you learn your baseball before calling people idiots.

Have a nice day.

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