Guillen to left field?

The Tigers new left fielder is Marcus Thames, except for when it’s Carlos Guillen? Guillen has been taking flyballs in left and it’s another way to keep his bat in the lineup while trying to find a place where his glove doesn’t hurt the defense too much – at least that’s the story.

Out of all the “drastic” moves so far this one reeks the most of desperation. Guillen has no experience playing left field. None. He’s struggled at positions he’s familiar with so why move him somewhere he isn’t comfortable. Meanwhile you have another defensive liability in the infield who has experience in the outfield – Miguel Cabrera. Admittedly he isn’t a good outfielder either, and he’s been looking decent at first, but why not move Cabrera to the outfield?

Or why not move Guillen to DH?

Guillen to left field? It’s a possibility, Leyland says | Freep.com | Detroit Free Press

42 Comments

  1. Kurt

    May 31, 2008 at 9:52 am

    Agree 100% Bilfer. When I woke up and saw “Guillen to LF?” all over the place I was in disbelief. There’s desperation, and there’s crazy. This strikes me as the latter.

  2. Dave BW

    May 31, 2008 at 10:06 am

    Clearly, Leyland simply wants to give his players some Fantasy Baseball versatility for next year.

  3. Tbone

    May 31, 2008 at 10:10 am

    Guillen to DH seems to make the most sense to me. I like the way Miggy is progressing at 1st and think he could be pretty decent over there with a little more seasoning.

    Honestly, I would rather see him boot the ball at 3rd in some spot starts than flounder around in left. We have more than enough gloves to cover left and Thames has shown that he can perform just fine out there.

  4. Jeff Molby

    May 31, 2008 at 10:37 am

    He’s struggled at positions he’s familiar with so why move him somewhere he isn’t comfortable.

    Yeah, but you could look at it from another perspective and it makes perfect sense.

    He’s struggled at every position in the infield, so why wouldn’t you see what he can do in the outfield?

    The odds are that his home will ultimately be as a DH, but with Sheff and Maggs under contract for awhile, you have to do anything you can to keep some flexibility.

  5. thefume

    May 31, 2008 at 10:47 am

    I agree with Jeff, Leyland views the DH spot is not open long term with Larish a potential much-needed LHB and Sheffield still on the roster (right or wrong). It seems Leyland has decided Brandon Inge needs to play 3rd, and with Miggy playing decent at 1B, LF was logical for Carlos. I don’t think it’s necessarily a difficult transition, although anything is tough mid-season.

    And what must Marcus Thames be thinking….this has to be like the 50th time it looked like he had that starting LF job only to apparently lose it through no real fault of his own. Leyland really doesn’t like that cat.

  6. Neal

    May 31, 2008 at 10:54 am

    I think Jeff has a point, Guillen hasn’t been able to play an infield position, but I don’t think he has had a problem catching fly balls (except when he and Renteria can’t figure whose turn it is to drop it), his problem would be catching up to fly balls. This is an idea that should have been out there a while ago. We don’t have a left fielder (Thames was only considered as a platoon guy).

  7. Neal

    May 31, 2008 at 10:59 am

    If Larrish is the real deal then he needs to play, I don’t like the idea of DH, I think Billfer had it right that Caberra would be better suited to Left, but is it too late with the progress he’s made playing first?
    Then Thames and Larrish could platoon 1st. Guillen goes to the DH. That still leaves the problem of the dead wood great leather at third (great catch, and great triple last night).
    Bring up Hessman to play third and give Inge a lot more time behind the plate.

  8. T Smith

    May 31, 2008 at 11:01 am

    Who’s got a link to the red phone? This is absolutely insane. Somebody has step and make the call to the Leyland administration before this new hair-brained scheme actuallizes, even in theory. This team is all over the road. An icy road. A narrow, winding moutainside road without guard rails, overlooking a precipitous drop to a deep rocky ravine.

    First off, you can’t keep moving Guillen all over the field like some red-headed step son. I don’t care how much of a team player he is, it’s gonna adversely mess with his psyche, adversely mess with his defensive skills, adversely mess with his offensive production. From short-stop to first base to third base to OF? What? I’m dizzy already. My feeling is Leyland has a very good relationship with Guillen and thus Guillen becomes the guinea pig. Bad idea. Very bad idea.

    Second, you can’t learn a new position 54 games into a season. Look: Guillen needs to play third and be replaced by Inge in late innings when defense is crucial. If you want to keep Guillen’s bat in the lineup, you can platoon the DH with Guillen and keep the left-handed bat in there in late innings. There will be errors at third. Hopefully not too many errors. If you really want to hone Guillen, work on his throws to first. Have Miggy work on his picks. Put in the time there. Please don’t make Guillen learn a new position. This is beyond desperate. This is baseball according to the I-Ching.

    Third, this further destabalizes the LF position. Thames, Thomas, Guillen, Joyce, Sheffield — what? Stick to a stable platoon, and give Thames a shot.

    I implore the powers that be, do not do this. If I have to lose all hope for the 2008 season, I really want it to be in September sometime, not in mid-June.

  9. Neal

    May 31, 2008 at 11:11 am

    Only one point, “adversely mess with his defensive skills”, I think the deseperation out there now is because those skills have not been shown and this may be an attempt to find some hidden unknown skills. They could team this up with an Indiana Jones trailer. Leyland just making it up as he goes along.

  10. T Smith

    May 31, 2008 at 11:12 am

    Ohh. And another thing — Billfer is 100% correct. If you’re compelled to try something radical and must shuffle things around a bit, let Miggy play LF and move Guillen back to 1st before you move Guillen to left. At least Miggy has experience in LF — and while not ideal, Miggy would probablly fare better out there than Carlos. What did Carlos do to deserve this kinda treatment?

  11. T Smith

    May 31, 2008 at 11:27 am

    “…I think the deseperation out there now is because those skills have not been shown…”

    Well…ahh…yeah! And you’re surprised by this, how? You’re asking a guy to move all over the field and sparkle everywhere he goes. I’m not sure exactly what kind of defense you expect when you manage a player like this. Yes, Carlos fielded some games at third in Seattle — but very few — and his time there hardly constitutes a comfort level with the position. He’s learning a new position, on top of a new position, and now he may be learning yet a new position for the first time. Do you honestly think we’re going to automatically see some defensive gems in LF — forget about errorless production — given these circumstances? Carlos Guillen is a professional. If you really want to see his defensive skills improve, let him work on one position. He’s not a bad fielder. He just needs to work on his arm and his focus (see the bulk of his errors al a the routine play)… I would firmly argue that you’re not going to hone Guillen’s focus by spreading him all over the map.

  12. Kathy

    May 31, 2008 at 11:32 am

    What did Carlos do? Kept dropping balls and the fans screaming for Inge back to 3rd. Carlos does at least have speed and hopefully he can catch a fly ball. Miggy’s too slow, imo.

  13. Tbone

    May 31, 2008 at 11:34 am

    Neal – “an attempt to find hidden unknown skills”?

    That sounds like desperation.

  14. T Smith

    May 31, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    Well, I guess if the errors Carlos committed means he’s bannished to the corn field, then you might as well tell Renteria he needs to learn a new position, too, for the botched back-handed, ESPN-highlight wannabe play that cost the Tigers the last Minny series — or his atrocius range that produce more costly seeing-eye singles than inning-ending assists — and Miggy too, for being so horrible at third in the first place, which compelled Leyland to shuffle everybody around, and which also precipitated Carlos Guillen’s current homeless dilemma in the first place. Yes, Carlos has made errors — costly ones — but I feel he’s getting the brunt of the wrath of horrible defensive team. I smell a scape goat. I don’t think Carlos Guillen deserves that role on this team.

    And I’d also like to observe the din in the room — or lack thereof — from screaming Inge fans after he comes to the plate in a crucial bases-loaded situation with one out, Tigers down by two. What? What was that sound? A pin drop? Ohh. Another check-swing-whiff-can’t-even-put-the ball-in-play.

    I love Inge’s defense at third base. I really do. But he’s a huge offensive liability on a team whose offense is sputtering, at best. You think eight shutouts look bad through 54 games? If you like the look at that ratio, or the Tigers already-atrocious RISP LOB, just keep Inge in the lineup full time with Pudge in front of him.

    I’m not sure I know what the answer is — but I don’t think it’s Carlos Guillen in LF.

  15. greg

    May 31, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    I have no idea how it will work out. But I love this move. Yes, Guillen could crash and burn. But it would be an absolutely amazing feat for him to look worse in the outfield than he has in the infield. Heck, I don’t even care if he looks like Alex Sanchez out there, not having to watch him let an average of 1-2 routine ground balls rolls under his glove per game because he won’t or can’t bend over is the best Tiger news I’ve heard all season.

    Ok, Guillen to DH makes perfect sense, I don’t argue with that, a case can be made that that is the best move, but IF he can play the outfield and look better than Adam Dunn(which half the readers of this blog could probably do) it opens up the DH for a lefty masher, or Sheffield when he’s ready(its possible…you never know).

    This will be interesting.

    As far as playing the ‘desperation’ card….

    a) If it were desperation(and I don’t think it is) is that a bad thing? What’s so terrible about desperation? What are the consequences of desperation that we’re so afraid of? Besides, I thought the consensus was that that type of emotional/chemistry stuff didn’t exist, didn’t matter, or was insignificant?

    b) Let’s say for the sake of argument that desperation did matter. How is it that any position switch(other than to catcher) is seen as desperate? Out of the 6+ billion people on the planet, these are supposed to be the best baseball players in the world, and they can’t handle a switch to a new position? Any ball player worth his salt in little league knows not only his position, but the basics of every single position on the field, this should be so ingrained into them that instinctually they should always know where every single player on the field is, at virtually every single moment, without even thinking about it, in every conceivable situation, of every game(with a few rare exceptions). I had this down before I was 10, and fully expected every team member, at that age, to be at the same level, if they didn’t, they felt my wrath. I don’t think I should hold Guillen to a lower standard than I did my 8-9 year old teammates.

  16. billfer

    May 31, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    Yes greg, because knowing that you’re supposed to catch a fly ball is all there is to playing the outfield. Come on. I’m sure that Guillen knows what he’s supposed to do and where he’s supposed to throw the ball. But he has no experience judging fly balls or what routes to take or any of the nuances that you pick up by playing on a regular basis. Comparing it to little league? Yeah, it’s the same thing.

  17. T Smith

    May 31, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    Greg:

    Those are good points — in theory — but do you really want to experiment with that theory 54 games into season — at a point where there is little or no margin for error? Shouldn’t this be spring-training kind of experiments? I know how to play every position on the Little League level, too. But it’s an entirely different game on the professional level — and even different at each level on the professional level. If you don’t think so, just look at how Maybin played LF on the big-league level (who is an experienced outfielder on the professional level). He was pretty horrible.

    Here’s why I don’t like it — and here’s what we’re gonna see — mark my words:

    We’re gonna see Carlos Guillen make some plays — and make some pretty good plays, too — but we’re gonna also see him botch some hard plays that a good LF should make. Plays at the wall. Plays that will require him to come off his feet. Communication plays with Curtis. Etc., etc. Sometimes those plays will be harmless, but other times, we’re gonna see a botched play or two cost the Tigers a game, or two, or maybe even three — and then we’ll see the fans screaming at how horrible Carlos Guillen is as a defender and calling for his head on a platter — all on account of being yanked all over the field as a Guinea pig scape goat. Wow. That’s gonna really put him into the zone, eh? It’s inevitable — and ohh so predicatable. Now I could be wrong — and I would love to be proved wrong –and maybe Carlos Guillen is the best LF on this team — who really knows? Maggs makes plenty of botched plays in RF, so maybe one could argue the botched plays in LF just won’t be so costly. But the point is, it’s a huge gamble and I just don’t want to be proved right after twenty or thirty more lost games into the season.

    I see the Tigers turning a corner and getting into some kind of groove. A couple bad breaks go the Tigers way, and the last home stand they’re 5-1 instead of 4-2, and they win the Angels series. That’s no so shabby. It’s by no means perfect, but it looks better than it has.

  18. Andrew Stein

    May 31, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    Why does every change this team makes labeled as desperate? They’re struggling and they want to win, should they keep losing and do the same thing just so they don’t look desperate?

    Sheff to left. Desperate
    Trade Robertson. Desperate.
    Willis in the pen. Desperate.
    Guillen to left. Desperate.

    Can’t this team just try stuff so they can win and you all can stop complaining about them and it not be labeled as “desperate?” You all must have felt that The Brewers moving Ryan Braun to LF was the most pathetic act of desperation in the history of sports!

    I think if any move they made has been desperate it was trading away two very good prospects for a declining 32 year old shortstop the day after the season ended. In that case they desperately wanted to replace Guillen and they jumped at the first offer that came their way.

  19. Andrew Stein

    May 31, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    I apologize for the grammar in that last post…I’m hungover.

  20. T Smith

    May 31, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    Andrew:

    You need to try things, yes. There’s aggressive, calculated risks, and just downright insane, uncalculated risks. Guillen to left falls in the latter category.

    Sheff to left is calculated — I wouldn’t say desperate. Give it a shot. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

    Trading Roberston/moving Willis to the pen – both possible to consider. The team is top-heavy with starters and looking for it’s grove. Not an ideal situation to be in, but I wouldn’t say desperate.

    Gullien to Left – Desperate. I’m sorry. This will be his fourth position within half of a season’s worth of games. There’s agressive tactics, and then there’s just throwing dung at the wall to see if it will stick. Other commenators have posted they like it — and it may work out — but in my view, it’s not a calculated risk to take. It’s a desperate move.

    I don’t see it improving the overall defense of the team. The hot corner gets stronger at the expense of the LF corner — and the lineup becomes weaker. That’s a lateral move at best.

  21. greg

    May 31, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    quote:

    but do you really want to experiment with that theory 54 games into season — at a point where there is little or no margin for error?

    yes

    quote:

    Shouldn’t this be spring-training kind of experiments?

    Eh, maybe, if you’re extremely risk averse. Spring training if you want to give him time to fine tune a few things – ie getting good reads or jumps on balls. Not a big deal to me because even the best of the best will misjudge balls from time to time, nobody is perfect. Of course, if you’re even mildly risk averse, Guillen would never play another game in the infield ever again.

    quote:

    But it’s an entirely different game on the professional level — and even different at each level on the professional level.

    The game is much different, the players are bigger stronger, the pitchers are better, more velocity on average and greater movement, but none of these things effect fielding. I’m talking about the fundamentals. The things you learn when you first start to play and keep with you throughout your career. If you’re playing third, one out, a runner on first, a ground ball is hit to you, so you throw it to 2b to start a double play, you also should have internalized everyone’s assignment on that play, every player that has to back up a throw, etc. this you know like the back of your hand, its become instinct, something you’re aware of without even thinking. If I’m moving from 1st to 3B, this shouldn’t be something I have to learn. It should already be instinctual. A ground ball is a ground ball, a fly ball is a flyball, see ball, catch ball. Now, the physical execution is another story, if I have a weak arm, I have a weak arm and the throw from third might lead to errors, but that’s not something I learn, I either have the arm strength or I don’t.

    quote:

    If you don’t think so, just look at how Maybin played LF on the big-league level (who is an experienced outfielder on the professional level). He was pretty horrible.

    unquote

    I don’t think this proves anything other than Maybin played a horrible LF. I haven’t seen him in the minors, maybe he was horrible there too, i dunno. We can speculate why he was horrible. If it’s because he doesn’t know the fundamentals he should have learned years ago, that’s his fault and he has no business playing one inning in the majors.

    quote:

    Plays at the wall. Plays that will require him to come off his feet. Communication plays with Curtis.

    unquote

    Leaving his feet….he already does that at short and it’s just athleticism, see ball catch ball, either you can or you can’t. Communication with Curtis. This is little league stuff….’mine’, ‘yours’ problem solved.

    Plays at the wall, however, is a good point. This, I know from experience, is not easy. I had forgotten about that one. It could be a problem. At the same time, its still a problem for Maggs from time to time, and he plays, overall, an adequate RF. So its a problem I’m willing to live with, and a problem that pales in comparison to his infield debacles.

    Look, he might suck in the OF, I grant you that, in fact, there’s a good chance of that, but suck worse than he does in the IF……..I don’t know if that’s possible.

  22. David

    May 31, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    Guillen to DH

    Inge to 3rd

    Shef to retirement

    Dtrain plays in blowouts until he proves he has his control

    and fire Leyland

    k thx much

  23. T Smith

    May 31, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    Greg:

    If it works, Leyland looks like a genius. And since you’re in favor, I’d be curious to know what odds you give it to work out somewhat favorably? 1 to 2? 2 to 3? Just curious of your thoughts.

    If it doesn’t work — let’s just say for sake of illustration it’s a complete disaster (I see disaster as a more likely outcome — but that’s just an opinion) — but regardless of opinion, let’s look at the consequences for a minute if it doesn’t work out. First, you compromise Guillen as a player. You basically showcase in bold that Guillen can’t play defense anywhere, is a defensive liability, and a one-dimensional, DH-kind of player. How much of that statement would be accurate? And how much created? I dunno. Yes, he’s played some pretty bad third base. But that doesn’t mean I think he’s necessarily a horrible defensive player. I think to some degree the Tigers organization has created this. And if I’m a player I don’t want my market downgraded unfairly or based on insinuating circumstances.

    Second, you likely compromise his offensive production. That’s more of a hypothetical, granted. But a hypothetical that seems reasonable to me. If you’re continually botching plays and there is a declining comfort level or security with any given defensive position the team asks you to play, your defense becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy and it stands to reason that said player would press and try to over compensate offensively. Which is a clear recipe for declining offensive production. This could be the kiss of death to player’s game everywhere.

    Regardless, if I’m a player, self-preservation has to kick in at a certain point and I start looking out for my own interests above the team (how can you not) when my manager continually tinkers with me as a guinea pig to fix the woes of a horrible defensive team. Upside to the experiment (if it works out): Better team — you are the selfless hero. Downside to the experiement (if it doesn’t work out): Carlos Guillen stock.

    I completely understand why the team (and the fans) may feel like moving Guillen to LF, but I also feel compelled not to risk throwing Carlos Guillen under the bus just because the entire team (not just Guillen) can’t field or hit or pitch all on the same day.

  24. West Coast Tiger

    May 31, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    This team reminds me of Mr. Potato Head. All the parts can fit in each hole, but depending what you do the result can be pretty ugly.
    Leyland
    Crazy Like a fox. I love it….on paper. I think. I think Leyland is saying I don’t have confidence in Joyce, Thomas, etc. to be the consistent contributors on offense. He can’t lose Guillen’s versatility at the plate. He realizes he needs Inge at third. for 150 million Cabrerras going to play every Day.

    Granderson CF
    Polanco 2B
    Guillen LF
    Ordonez RF
    Cabrerra 1B
    Thames/Larrish DH
    Reteria SS
    Pudge C
    Inge 3B

    or have Cabrerra batting 6th and the DH hitting 5th

  25. Michael M.

    May 31, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    For one, Guillen does have experience in the OF. He was signed by Houston as an outfielder. PLus, it is easier to move to the OF then move to the infield. My only concern with Guillen in the OF is his arm. You can’t throw out anyone with a sidearm throw.

  26. Carolyn

    May 31, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    I think the optimal situation is Sheffield to retirement and Guillen to DH. As far as Cabrera to left, I like him at 1st, and didn’t Leyland swear up and down that the guy was a first baseman? If many think it’s unfair to Guillen to switch him around, I don’t think it’s fair to Cabrera either. And besides, he’s progressed very nicely at first.
    Cabrera wasn’t a bad left-fielder with the Marlins. Slowish, but with an accurate, rocket arm; if anything, left field allows him to utilize this.

  27. Rick G

    May 31, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    The last thing you want is a guy with bad knees and perennially bad hamstrings (and quads, etc.) chasing down fly balls in Comerica National Park. This is just Leyland not willing to undo his mistake of switching Cabrera and Guillen that made no sense to begin with.

    Until Sheff’s future is clear, put Guillen back at 1B, Cabrera back at 3B, moving him out to LF late in games so Inge can take over. Brandon and his .217 batting average doesn’t deserve to be a full time starter for what should be a contending team. Thames, Thomas, and Paws can platoon in LF for all I care.

  28. tiff

    May 31, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    I prefer desperation over complacency.

    But, will someone please think of Carlos’ knees! The man is practically Mr. Glass.

  29. Steve in Kzoo

    May 31, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    Man, I just don’t know what is wrong with the tigers this year. I think maybe just maybe, that Guillen should be moved back to SS and maybe put Renteria at 3B. I like Binge as everyone else with his awesome defensive skills but hes bat provides an offensive spark every like 13-20 games. WE CANT AFFORD HIM IN THE LINEUP EVERYDAY.

    Guillen to LF is desperation on a team that I have finally admitted is a DH team. Maggs, Sheff, and Guillen are all going to be DH for this team in the future Guillen especially with his bad knees, errors, and limited range.

    And finally Miggs has been doing great at 1B and NEEDS to stay there. You guys talk about shell shocking and messing up Guillen’s psyche, what do you think it will do to Miggy who is already shaking in confidence. You cant just keep moving players all over the place because things aren’t working out and expect them to play great.

    PS- The move right now to move Willis to part time duty with our best pitcher is just unreal. This is one move I’m very upset with JL for. Galarraga although not a lights out guy, is and has been our best pitcher since he was called up. so 3 walks a game isn’t bad for a guy who was projected as a #5 or long reliever. He isn’t a #1 starter but he has been our #1 so lay off of him. He IS just a ROOKIE in case you didn’t know. Willis should platoon with Bondo or Nate not with Galarraga. Two to one odds I bet Galarraga starts his downfall because of this move. And Willis I bet won’t stay in 3 innings because of too many walks are teams are scoring crazy off of him.

  30. Chris

    May 31, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    The solution to the Tigers problems is so simple: reschedule the rest of the season to where we only have to play the Mariners, Yankees & Rangers.

  31. Dave BW

    May 31, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    Steve –

    With the track records of these hitters, the team should be able to carry one all-defense player. Considering the effect this defensively dismal infield seems to be having on our pitchers, the case could be made that they indeed need to do so.

  32. Eric Cioe

    May 31, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Guillen isn’t going to be a full time LF, no way. I view this about the same as Thames practicing at 1B. Yeah, he played there some, but he sure wasn’t full time.

  33. T Smith

    May 31, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    For the record:

    I don’t think Miggy should play LF either. I was just pointing out that it makes more sense than Guillen to LF — which isn’t saying much about sense to begin with.

    Steve in KZoo:

    Guillen to SS and Renteria to 3rd is an intriguing idea. Of all the moves mentioned, I’m more comfortable with that scenario than moving Guillen to the OF. It might work.

  34. cib

    May 31, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    I’m frustrated w the game so switched to this thread. All very good posts and T Smith, your last one really depressed me, because if we applied that one, then we didn’t have to trade away Jair J in the first place.

    Sigh. Just feeling so hopeless watching Verlander looking so mediocre.

  35. charlie

    May 31, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    sometimes when i watch/listen/read about the tigers i think i’m in bizarro world. just more instances that these guys have very little idea of what they are doing.

    imagine the 08 tigers if management had done absolutely nothing over the winter…would we not be better off…or how about if they went out and signed one bona fide starting pitcher and one reliever. add maybe $10 million to the payroll…i gotta believe we would be way better off…hindsight i know but still.

  36. charlie

    May 31, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    …and another thing…no more national league players…better to go to the minors first. i know that cabrera is not a bust although he is hitting about 35 points less than last years batting average…but willis, rent a ss and jacque has left the building jones are/were.

  37. Lee Panas

    May 31, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    Charlie, The Tigers would really be limiting themselves if they stayed away from National League players. For one thing, it would mean no Polanco. More importantly, the National League has more good young talent and I predict they will catch and pass the American League in the next couple of years. Maybe even this year. They have been pretty even in interleague play so far.

  38. greg

    May 31, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    Billfer – absolutely, I stand by my position 100%. In my opinion, fundamentals are fundamentals. If he can’t catch routine fly balls in the air, then he probably shouldn’t be in baseball in the firstplace. Its easy. I’ve done it. Sorry if that upsets some people. Not sure why it would be so much more difficult for a major leaguer. But they can find out right away with him shagging a few fly balls in practice if he’s a train wreck or not.

    quote:

    But he has no experience judging fly balls or what routes to take or any of the nuances that you pick up by playing on a regular basis.

    unquote

    Really, the basics are not that tough. Taking perfect routes every time, no, of course that’s not easy. Of course he’s going to take some wrong routes. But nobody takes perfect routes every time. Why expect Gold Glove D from day one? Sure, over time he could become better at reading balls off the bats and taking better routes toward balls. But being more concerned about that than the daily train wreck at 3B is like straining a gnat and swallowing a camel, in my opinion.

    quote:

    Comparing it to little league? Yeah, it’s the same thing.

    unquote

    Yes there are certain fundamentals that you should learn when you start playing the game that you keep with you throughout your career. If you feel otherwise, then we just have different baseball philosophies. They had him shagging flyballs in pregame practice(or whenever it was). In practice, if he sees a flyball hit to his left and doesn’t know he should run to his left, then right there in practice, they can see he’s not fit for the outfield.

    Plays off of the wall and getting a feel for the warning track, yes, those are more involved, and growing pains should be expected there. But again, whatever damage his D might do in the OF, I don’t see how it could be even half as bad as the damage he does at 3b.

  39. greg

    May 31, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    Tsmith wrote:

    I’d be curious to know what odds you give it to work out somewhat favorably? 1 to 2? 2 to 3? Just curious of your thoughts.

    Good question, first you’d have to define favorably. In one sense, simply the fact that I wouldn’t have to watch him fielding ground balls makes it a resounding success.

    :-)

    I think the odds are against him being average right away. I would expect him to be below average. Then again, he surprised me at the end of last year by playing. I would expect some growing pains, a play or two in which he’s ‘in between’ running in and catching it in the air, making a sliding catch, the ball short hops him, he misplays it, it rolls all the way to the wall, turning a single into a triple. And yes, people will be clamoring that night that he shouldn’t be in the OF. Expect some problems/misplays with/at the wall. But I think his damage will be mostly allowing the runner to advance an extra base or two.

    I know that alot of people correlate switching positions to declining offensive production. But in my opinion, that’s just an excuse. In my opinion, they’re 2 separate things that don’t effect each other. But if there is an effect it, it my opinion it would be in a positive way. You’re angry because you made an error and you harness that anger and channel it into more determination and focus in your next at bat. I’ll give merely one example of this. When Pudge dropped the routine pop up in a game early in the year, later in the game, he had multiple hits and RBI’s, including a triple that sparked a huge comeback. After the game he attributed his offensive spark to the error, stating he was angry and embarrased by his mistake and that ignited his offensive outburst.

  40. T Smith

    June 1, 2008 at 8:40 am

    Greg:

    I didn’t get to see all the game yesterday; it was blacked out, but I did get to see a couple plays on the FOX Spanish channel. One of the plays I saw was Thames running down a fly ball, and it seemed like a very good play.

    By favorably, I just mean Guillen makes that catch, too, and others like it. Or the catch Matt Joyce made diving for the ball the other day which saved a run, I believe. By favorably, I mean Guillen doesn’t commit more than his share of errors… one, maybe two, and the growing pains are minimal and not costly — as in costing a game. By favorably, I mean a pop up to left doesn’t automatically give a green light for runners to tag and/or score.

    I read this morning that Guillen was gonna play left today, so I guess were going to see.

  41. Jim McKee

    June 2, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    Why not…
    – Put Marcus Thames in left, and leave him alone (as long as he keeps doing well).
    – Same with Brandon Inge at third.
    – Switch Guillen and Cabrera between first and DH. (One plays first on a given day, the other DH’s… then switch ‘em as necessary.)
    – Dump Sheffield, he’s too injury-riddled (sorry, I wish it wasn’t true, but let’s face reality, folks).
    – Shake well, serve over ice.

  42. Mark in Chicago

    June 2, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    I see where you’re going Jim, but they can’t just dump Sheffield. They him $14 million this year and another $14 million next year. Yeah, he’s old and injured and probably not productive. But he’s gonna collect his paycheck.

    The best hope they have is that he stays on the DL until he’s completely healthy, at which point he could come back and be useful.