Following the blockbuster trade that sent first baseman Prince Fielder to the Rangers and second baseman Ian Kinsler to the Tigers, everyone on the planet simply assumed that Miguel Cabrera would move over from third base to first base while prospect Nick Castellanos would take over at third. It makes sense, as Cabrera was becoming statuesque in the field due to a groin injury.
Not so fast. Tigers president and GM Dave Dombrowski told the Detroit News, “We are not prepared to answer that question yet.” The question, of course, being “will Miguel Cabrera move to first base?”
Ostensibly, Dombrowski was unwilling to commit to the idea because the Tigers have various ways to amalgamate Cabrera, Castellanos, and Victor Martinez into their lineup, including ways that leave Cabrera at third base. But reports out of Venezuela say that Cabrera informed the organization that he is open to moving back to first base, which would presumably be less physically taxing and thus extend his career a bit longer. The Tigers are, after all, considering signing Cabrera to an extension before his contract runs out in 2015.
Craig Mish of MLB Network Radio is reporting that Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto has requested a trade out of Miami. Jon Heyman is characterizing it as Realmuto telling the team that he “wouldn’t mind” a trade.
Either way, Realmuto has no power to force a trade. This isn’t the NBA or something. Still, it’s evidence of just how dreary a prospect remaining in Miami is for Marlins veterans in the wake of trades that sent Giancarlo Stanton to New York, Marcell Ozuna to St. Louis.
Realmuto, who will turn 27 just before the 2018 season, hit .278/.332/.451 with 17 homers, 65 RBI, and eight steals over 141 games this past season. He only has three years of service time and is arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason. He made just $562K in the 2017 and will get a big raise this year, but he’s still going to be underpaid based on his production. If the Marlins wanted to trade him, they’d get a nice return. Why they would want to trade him, I have no idea.
Expect more of this sort of thing as the Marlins slash payroll and make it clear that their immediate priorities are more about saving money and less about winning baseball games. Which may or may not be a valid goal for the team’s new owners, but is certainly a letdown for baseball players and fans.