Carlos Guillen gets his wish (seven months later)

In the end, Carlos Guillen got what he wanted, if only because the Tigers got what they needed.

When Guillen complained about his situation last fall, griped about being taken out for late-inning defensive purposes in the outfield last year, he gave the distinct impression that he would be happier playing in the infield. He had changed positions time and again for the good of the team since moving out from shortstop late in the 2007 season. He wasn’t injured as often as a Tiger, he said, when he played shortstop, though one could argue against that.
Beneath the talk about health, the second-guessing of moves, the complaints about an ever-changing lineup was his case to move to second base if the Tigers didn’t re-sign Placido Polanco. The Tigers shot down that idea quickly, saying they were committed to Scott Sizemore. They also came back to the belief that Guillen would have a hard time staying healthy playing the infield every day.
Seven months after those comments, Sizemore is struggling, Brennan Boesch is thriving in Guillen’s old left field/DH role, the Tigers need more offense in their lineup, and Guillen is close to returning from his left hamstring pull. The Tigers needed to get creative to find a way to keep Guillen and Boesch in the same lineup. They did so by deciding that idea of Guillen as an infielder again wasn’t so crazy after all.
“Carlos is a tremendous veteran player,” Leyland said. “Obviously, we want to find a spot for him every day. I think they would probably run me out of town if we sent Boesch down, so I don’t think that would be a very bright move. And you’ve got Johnny Damon, so what you do is because of the situation with Scott Sizemore. I think it’s going to give us another bat in the lineup.”
Manager Jim Leyland sat down with Guillen Saturday and talked about it, but he probably didn’t have to. Give Guillen an infielder’s glove, and he was probably going to be on board with this. The unanswered questions can come later.
If the Tigers felt last year, two years ago, three years ago like Guillen couldn’t stay healthy for a season as an infielder, what changed to make them feel like Guillen — who’s coming off a hamstring injury he suffered rounding third base — can hold up at second base? The realistic answer is the need was big enough for them to give it a shot. If it doesn’t work out, they have other options at second. If Guillen gets hurt, hey, they gave it a shot.
“He’s obviously caught a lot of ground balls in his career,” Leyland said. “Over at second base, obviously, it’s not as strenuous as shortstop. We think that that’s going to give us another offensive bat that pushes some things down further. We think it’s a logical move.”
How long do the Tigers plan on going with this? I have no idea. There are so many moving parts that could change this, it’s almost not even worth discussing how long. Guillen’s health is only one of the factors, but it’s by far the biggest. How long Boesch can keep up this hitting as pitchers try to get him to chase bad pitches is another. What Sizemore does at Triple-A Toledo to recover and earn a trip back is still another. Injuries to other Tigers outfielders could change plans just the same.
Leyland definitely wasn’t talking about looking that far ahead. He’s looking at the potential spark to the lineup from Guillen batting sixth in the lineup between Boesch and Brandon Inge. Still, two important Tigers who had trouble communicating at season’s end are now seemingly on the same wavelength.

8 Comments

I mentioned on here the other day about how good it would be if they could put Guillen at 2B to add another solid bat to the lineup and what do you know? JL went and did it. A couple of bloggers said there’s no way JL would play him there and I actually agreed but it really is about the only solution to play both Guillen and Boesch. Now I’m just hoping Guillen can at least make the routine plays. Can anybody say “late inning replacement”?

One more change: Lose Everett and call up Brent Dlugach.

Jason covered the situation here as well as it could be covered. Good one. All I can add is “what he said.”
.
I remember that, aklos, and I was one that thought JL would never do it, although I said the idea had merit. I thought it was the only move that could be made at THIS time then lo and behold, I start seeing Guillen working out around the bag a few days ago. This isn’t as huge as the famous 2008 firstbase-thirdbase swap, but it’s a big move.
.
All teams have to piece together their season on the fly, and the Tigers may have to do more piecing than usual this season. As other people have written, this season is in many ways more interesting than 2009 was.
.
–Rich

Boesch forced this move and it has been fun watching him hit. They need Boesch’s bat and you cannot sit Carlos. Hopefully, Carlos comes back hitting like he was before the injury. His bat is not important as a DH anymore, so the infield is the only place to put him to get his bat in the line up. Another hitter is certainly needed.
.
Worth can play all over the infield and he is known as a very good defensive player. Hitting and health have been his issues. He did get off to a good start with the bat this year. I like it as a short team call up for the flexiblity he offers and they can see how he handles it. Dlugach has been striking out a lot, but I would have thought he would have gotten first crack after the Spring he had. Rhymes has his well this year, but his defense is not rated as high as the other two.
..Mark

According to Marcano Trillo second base is more dangerous than SS. While SS go against the runner and with the ball in the hand can force the runner to go down, 2b goes to put himself in front of the runner with no defense at all
When will A Avila follow them into AAA?

Sizemore deserved to go down. But the infield coach needs some change too. Why was Don kelly playing so far from the line in the game against the Ys in the seventh inning?. The Cervelli double in that inning must have been an out. After the 5th inn and especially in a close game you cover the foul line. Its better to give away a single than allow an extra-base hit

No doubt I would put Boesch in lineup even with Guillen healthy. He is batting good and Guillen in outfield is not comfortable. If I were Leyland I put Guillen as DH (turning with Damon) or in infield because he is a natural shortstop in he could do good at second base

No doubt I would put Boesch in lineup even with Guillen healthy. He is batting good and Guillen in outfield is not comfortable. If I were Leyland I put Guillen as DH (turning with Damon) or in infield because he is a natural shortstop in he could do good at second base

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 26,280 other followers