Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
For the long term productivity of Carlos Guillen, the move makes sense; it was a move that was likely to happen eventually anyway, and by doing so now, the Tigers hopefully can extend his productivity and save his ailing knees. However, the Tigers have now put themselves in a position where they need to find a replacement at shortstop, both offensively and defensively. Of course the Tigers are improving their productivity at first, but it would be much easier to upgrade offensively at first than it would be at shortstop. And who the Tigers get to replace Guillen is anyone's guess - there are no legitimate replacements on the free agent market, and any trade would likely entail a steep price. Shifting Guillen is a sound move, however, it opens up a gaping hole that will not be easy to fill.
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
I don't mind the decision to move Guillen to first base, but I can't say I'm a huge fan of it either. While I fully recognize that his range has deteriorated and his health is a concern, Carlos is still an adequate defender. He's an intelligent player that has the ability to position himself to compensate for his defeciancies. Moving Guillen to first should allow him to continue producing offensively throughout the remainder of his contract. That offensive production is something the Tigers will need more and more as the roster begins to change in the coming years. However, the move still doesn't help the fact that the Tigers lacked any legitimate production from three positions last year -- first base, third base, and left field. Now instead, the Tigers are forced to go out and find someone that can contribute offensively at shortstop, something that is not nearly as easy as finding offensive output at first base. If the Tigers are able to get average to above average production at shortstop next year, then the move looks very good; but if they are forced ro run Ramon Santiago -- or someone of his ilk -- out there everyday, the move has the potential to look like a big mistake.
Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
I'm fine with Guillen moving to first base. He was going to move over there eventually, but by doing this now, he can focus on it during the offseason. It also won't be as stressful on his knees, and given that the Tigers just signed him to a $48 million dollar extension, they need a healthy and effective Guillen to continue to key the middle of the order. The Tigers also have several shortstops they can pursue. Edgar Renteria of the Braves and Orlando Cabrera of the Angels both have prospects behind them that could allow those teams to shed some salary in a trade. The Tigers could also look at Omar Vizquel and David Eckstein in free agency, although whoever they bring in likely won't be a long-term fix (obviously unless they trade for someone young like Hanley Ramirez) given their ages and in Renteria's and Cabrera's cases, they are nearing the end of their contracts. The Tigers also have draftees Danny Worth and Cale Iorg in the minors, with the former making a brief appearance at Erie. If Worth has a big year next year, he could be the top in-house candidate for the job in 2009.
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