By Ashley Dunkak
DETROIT (CBS DETROIT) – In the press conference in which the Detroit Tigers officially announced the widely reported signing of closer Joe Nathan, perhaps the most interesting news that emerged had nothing to do with Nathan.
General manager Dave Dombrowski said superstar Miguel Cabrera, who played first base for the Tigers before the arrival of now-departed slugger Prince Fielder, will be moving back to first. Nick Castellanos, a rookie in 2013 who played mostly left field, will take over at the hot corner, the position he played for three seasons in the minors.
Dombrowski called Castellanos a “natural infielder” and said the Tigers discussed the moves with both him and Cabrera.
“We talked to Miguel, we talked about it, he’s happy to go to first,” Dombrowski said. “As he said, ‘I’m a team player. I’ll do whatever’s necessary to help the ball club.'”
With Cabrera in place of Fielder, new acquisition Ian Kinsler replacing free agent Omar Infante at second base, hotshot shortstop Jose Iglesias taking over for Jhonny Peralta and Castellanos playing third, the Detroit infield will look completely different this upcoming season.
Whether the outfield will also be altered is still up in the air. Torii Hunter is in right field, and Austin Jackson plays center, but the Tigers could still be looking for an upgrade in left. This past season the Tigers platooned the position with Andy Dirks, Matt Tuiasosopo and occasionally Don Kelly.
Rumors have abounded that a top target of the Tigers for left field is Shin Soo Choo, a nine-year veteran outfielder who spent most of his career with the Cleveland Indians before playing for the Cincinnati Reds in 2013. Choo batted .285 with 21 home runs, 20 stolen bases and a .423 on-base percentage.
However, after Dombrowski said he does not expect the Tigers to be involved with any more big free agents, many around the game – including 97.1 The Ticket’s Bob Wojnowski – don’t see that happening after all.