The Age of the First Baseman: Bring Miguel Cabrera to Baltimore

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The Age of the First Baseman: Bring Miguel Cabrera to Baltimore

First base has become the new shortstop. The glamour position. The thoroughbred in the stable that can create playoff appearances, win pennants and MVPs, and wear World Series rings. Take a look at this year’s playoff contenders; with roughly 50 games left we can consider a team a contender if they are less than 10 games back.

AL East

 

New York – Mark Teixeira , .259/26 HR/85 RBI

70-43, 1st

Tampa Bay – Carlos Pena, .212/23 HR/68 RBI

69-45, 2nd Wilcard Leader

Boston – Kevin Youkiliss, .307/19 HR/62 RBI *

66-49 3rd

 

AL Central

 

Chicago – Paul Konerko, .302/28 HR/78 RBI

64-50, 1st tie

Minnesota – Justin Morneau, .345/18 HR/56 RBI *

64-50, 1st tie

Detroit – Miguel Cabrera, .339/26 HR/93 RBI

55-59, 3rd

AL West

 

Texas – Jorge Cantu, .265/10 HR/54 RBI *

65-48, 1st

Los Angeles (can’t I just call them Anaheim) – Mike Napoli, .255/18 HR/51 RBI *

59-57, 2nd

Oakland – Daric Barton, .273/5 HR/38 RBI

57-56, 3rd

 

NL East

 

Atlanta – Troy Glaus, .241/15 HR/65 RBI

66-48, 1st

Philadelphia – Ryan Howard, .292/23 HR/81 RBI *

63-50, 2nd

Florida – Gaby Sanchez, .290/12 HR/53 RBI

56-56, 3rd

New York – Ike Davis, .251/15 HR/54 RBI

56-57, 4th

 

NL Central

 

St. Louis – Albert Pujlos, .310/28 HR/84 RBI

64-49, 1st

Cincinnati – Joey Votto, .319/28 HR/77 RBI

64-51, 2nd

 

NL West

San Diego – Adrian Gonzalez, .297/22 HR/73 RBI

66-46, 1st

San Francisco – Aubrey Huff, .302/20 HR/67 RBI *

65-50, 2nd, Wildcard Leader

Colorado – Todd Helton, .251/3 HR/19 RBI *

59-54, 3rd

Los Angeles – James Loney, .288/8 HR/70 RBI

59-55, 4th

 

*Indicates an injury or position inconsistency (As with Aubrey Huff playing OF and 1B or Jorge Cantu playing 3B and 1B)

 

11 of the 19 contending teams have legitimate 20 HR first basemen thus far and this is taking into account Morneau and Youkiliss considering their injuries. It would be 12 with Kendry Morales. The only division leaders without a stud at 1B are Texas (who have Josh Hamilton to make up for it) and Atlanta (Troy Glaus is on pace for a 22 HR/93 RBI year…not too shabby).

 

Mark Teixeira, Ryan Howard, Kevin Youkilis, Albert Pujols, Paul Konerko, Kevin Millar, Derek Lee, Scott Spiezio, Mark Grace, Tino Martinez.

 

Those are the first basemen to win the WS since 2000(except Tino won it 3 times in a row including ’98 and ’99). Of the 11 listed, only Kevin Millar in ‘04 and Scott Spiezio in ‘02 weren’t terrifying at the plate, and Derek Lee was on the cusp of that category while Mark Grace was at the end of his great career.

 

We are in the middle of the age of the first basemen. Every cellar-dweller lacks a threat at 1B, save Adam Dunn in Washington. In order to become relevant in the MLB there must be a sure-fire 1B talent plugged in the middle of the order.

 

With the recent hiring of Buck Showalter and the hot streak the Baltimore Orioles have been on since he put on the black and orange, I believe the Orioles are in the best position to compete with the addition of an elite first basemen.

 

Although they are in the AL East with the free-spending Red Sox and Yankees, it is not difficult to see that the level of competition could come down a bit with New York’s prodigal son, Derek Jeter, recently 36 at the SS position; the Bronx Bombers will soon be without their heart and soul for the past 15 years. This doesn’t mean they won’t contend for 90 wins for the foreseeable future, but they won’t be the same Yankees without Jeter and The Boss at the helm. As for the Red Sox, we can already see what has happened to them with the deterioration of Jason Varitek as well as inconsistency in the pitching staff and less home-grown talent than they would like.

 

This is the perfect time for the Orioles to return to relevance and put their mark on the AL East. Trade for Miguel Cabrera.

 

The team is full of young talent on the MLB roster but lacks that superstar in the middle of the order that can put fear in opposing pitchers. They didn’t get their first home run from the 1B slot until June this season, really highlighting the need for an upgrade to that position. The farm system has some prize pieces in LHP Zach Britton at AAA and Xavier Avery, recently promoted to AA, that can be used to pry Cabrera away from Detroit or replace anyone on the MLB roster that may need to be leveraged, Luke Scott, Felix Pie, Corey Patterson and one of the arms.

 

Insert Cabrera in the lineup with Roberts, Markakis, Jones, and Wieters along with a potentially Oakland-esque stable of arms relative to the Hudson, Zito, Mulder period in Matusz, Arrieta and Tillman. I think they would be a closer away, who could be in the form of recently acquired Wynn Pelzer in the Tejada trade, from a serious run at 85-90 wins with Buck Showalter at the helm.

 

GO GET MIGGY! (Not Tejada.)

 

*All stats taken from ESPN.com

 

 

 

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