I’ve heard rumors to the effect that Marcus Thames would attempt a conversion to first base and it looks like it’s becoming reality. Contrary to a lot of people I’ve heard talking about this, moving to first base isn’t an “easy” transition. It’s a unique position and in addition, you have a guy going from the outfield moving to the infield, which in itself has it’s difficulties. This came up in a conversation at my SABR meeting yesterday and most people agreed that Gary Sheffield, when he was thrust into playing first base last year for the Yankees, shouldn’t have been playing there.
That’s not to say it can’t be done though and it’s good they’re working with Thames now. While I still think Thames and Craig Monroe are basically interchangable and we could get more for Monroe on the trading block, dealing the current starter may be the way to go. It looks like the Tigers front office thinks otherwise though and would rather have the depth. That’s probably a prudent move with Monroe getting hurt last year and Magglio Ordonez’s injury history but that doesn’t make it any better for Thames.
The linked story is very good and it even goes into how Al Kaline, one of the best fielding outfielders ever, had problems playing first base. Good stuff from John Lowe.