Wednesday February 15 2012- In an effort to add more offense, three separate MLB teams are converting existing firstbaseman to third base at the big league level. Not unprecedented, but risky nonetheless as the list of successful converts is short and made mostly of former SS like Alex Rodriguez or Cal Ripken, Jr..
The Detroit Tigers signed 1b Prince Fielder and have decided that Miguel Cabrera can move to third. Not so fast. Cabrera was not good at third when he weighed 225 and I don't see how adding 50lbs of belly fat could help that.
The LA Angels signed 1b Albert Pujols and will now move Mark Trumbo to third base. Trumbo has played only 1b and RF in the big leagues and is attempting to rehabilitate a stress fracture in his foot while preparing for his move. Either one on its own makes for a difficult spring training, but both together could make for some tough going.
The Miami Marlins signed FA SS Jose Reyes and to make room will move Hanley Ramirez to 3b. This transition should be the physically easiest of the three, but will by no means be easy. Thirty feet closer is the difference between reflex and reaction. Ripken estimated it took him 100 games to feel comfortable, but Rodriguez sets his number at 350 and still counting. That is when you buy in and give your full and absolute effort at success. Say what you will about A-rod, he deserves it, but he is a worker. Say what you will about Hanley, and you'll probably be right unless you say worker, giving, good attitude, team leader, etc.
From the "Its not my fault" File: Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay claims that he wants to keep QB Peyton Manning, "If the contract can get done." This is a miserable and transparent attempt to shift any possible blame from himself. You want him back? Then step up and bring him back, Jack.
From the "What now?" File: ESPN has decided to remove Ron Jaworski from the Monday Night Football booth. This decision must harken back to the days when ESPN had "Sunday Night Football" before getting the Monday game and decided to break up the outstanding team of Mike Patrick, Joe Theisman, and Paul Maguire, a team that obviously was better collectively than individually. This move leaves a 2-man booth of Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden. This broadcast is ESPN's crown jewel and they will not leave it in the buttery fingers of Mike "Golf Voice" Tirico, and Gruden needs a 3-man booth for almost clever banter. Gruden is likable in this role but Jaworski was the class of this team. Undoubtedly this will prove to be part of ESPN's "as soon they file retirement papers get them on air" policy as it pertains to athletes and a recently reitred former player will step in here. If I had a vote it would be for Trent Greene. Dude is flat impressive as an analyst.