Don't get me wrong, I like Gary Sheffield. The fact is though, the Tigers had too many guys swinging for the fences in their lineup last season. Of course that was just one of many problems last year, but I think this is a step in the right direction. Now, if only Jim Leyland will manage more like Mike Scioscia and less like Billy Beane (that's right, I said it, he is calling the shots from his perch), and perhaps even a little like Ozzie Guillen of 2005. The Tigers lineup is VERY reminiscent of the World Series champ White Sox team. Anderson (Podsednik) gets on, steals second, Polanco (Iguchi) moves him over and then there is Cabrera, Maggs and Thames (Dye, Konerko, Everett) and a very defensively solid bottom of the order with the bonus of a Granderson and a Guillen to spray line drives to all fields. Another gripe I've had with the Tigers since the arrival of Leyland has been the 162 different lineups he has used. Pick one, stick with it, let the players get comfortable and win some ballgames. Heres what it could look like:
1. LF Anderson
2. 2B Polanco
3. 1B Cabrera
4. RF Ordonez
5. DH Guillen
6. CF Granderson
7/8/9 C Laird / SS Everett / 3B Inge
Honestly, I do not care how the bottom of the lineup looks, but I'm all for getting Inge the very LEAST amount of at bats possible. The bottom line is they can put a TRUE base stealer at the top of the order and and still get Granderson 15-25 steals in the middle of the lineup and give the guys at the bottom a chance to drive in some runs. Further, Anderson allows Guillen to be a super-sub in Left Field, Third Base or First Base and Thames can slide in to the DH slot to give the regulars a day off.
Of course this is what I WANT. What will probably happen is Leyland will put Thames as the DH and use Anderson sparingly. That would be a mistake, but I will save the predictions for later.