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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

REPORT: Cabrera has told Tigers he's willing to move back to first base


With as much gusto as Miguel Cabrera welcomed the opportunity to switch back to third base when the Detroit Tigers acquired Prince Fielder two years ago, it begged a question:

How would Cabrera feel about moving back to first base, now that Fielder’s gone by way of trade?

The answer: Just fine, apparently.

Cabrera told El Universal that he already told the Tigers he wanted to play first base, the Venezuelan newspaper tweeted out this afternoon.

Despite the fact that Cabrera won two American League Most Valuable Player awards — almost exclusively with his bat, mind you — after making the move to third base for the sake of the team in 2012, first base would make the most sense for a player of his age. Especially since he’s coming off sports hernia surgery at the beginning of the offseason.

“I think when you look at Miguel, and think of him in the future, you think of him at some point needing to go back over there to first base. The difficulty would be, as you look past a couple of years, if we’re in a position where we could ever extend him, it would be a position where neither Prince nor Miguel liked to DH on a consistent basis. They’re willing to go over there for a day or two, but they don’t really like doing that, so if you’re going to move forward with both of them on your club, the only way to really do that — if neither one of them want to DH — is to have Prince at first and Miguel at third. So it does create the flexibility (now),” Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said last week, after eliminating the logjam by dealing Fielder.

But the Tigers said at the time they dealt Fielder to Texas they hadn’t sought Cabrera out to get his opinion on the potential of moving positions again. Before acquiring Fielder in January 2012, the Tigers did reach out to Cabrera to get his OK.

“We really haven’t talked to him about going back to first base. I know he likes playing third base. Of course, we haven’t talked to him about it, because we didn’t see the immediate need,” Dombrowski said.

“And that’s a conversation that we eventually would have had with Miguel, and we’ll see with the timing of that conversation — if it takes place now, or if it’s still in the future.”

If the Tigers do listen to Cabrera, and move him back to first base, where he made 592 starts between 2008 and 2011, that would clear the path for 2010 top draft pick Nick Castellanos to move in at third base.

“I would love to be that guy at third base,” the natural infielder said in an interview on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM.

Cabrera may miss Fielder as a friend — his own Twitter feed showed immediately after the trade, and he told El Universal, “Fielder was a great friend, but those are things that managements are responsible (for) ... (He) will always be my friend.” And he may miss him in the lineup.

But he’ll still be willing to do what’s best for the team, apparently.

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