Blog Entry

Would You Rather Have: Cabrera or Gonzalez?

Posted on: January 21, 2012 1:15 pm
Edited on: January 22, 2012 10:55 am
 

By C. Trent Rosecrans

You could argue we're living in the golden age of first basemen. Of the last 12 MVPs, five have gone to first baseman, and four different ones (Albert Pujols, Joey Votto, Ryan Howard and Justin Morneau), to boot. And that list doesn't even include Prince Fielder or either of the two first basemen we're looking at today -- Detroit's Miguel Cabrera and Boston's Adrian Gonzalez.

Both slugging first basemen are younger than 30 (at least until May, when Gonzalez hits the big 3-0) and both rose to the majors by the time they were 22, although Gonzalez didn't become a star until he was traded to San Diego in 2006, while Cabrera came up as a third baseman and outfielder and got MVP votes as a 20-year-old rookie. Now, though, both are among the game's best and expected to pick up an MVP any time now.

The case for Cabrera

This isn't too tough to make -- Cabrera won the American League batting title with a .344 average and also had the league's best on-base percentage (.448) for the second consecutive season. He also hit 30 homers and led the majors with 48 doubles. He has a career OPS+ of 149 and had a 181 OPS+ last season, better even than his league-leading 178 in 2010. Here's a guy who is 33 homers from 300 and has a lifetime slash line of .317/.395/.555. The guy's bat is just special.

The case for Gonzalez

Would You Rather Have
A lot was expected of Gonzalez in his first season in Boston and it says something about his ability if his .338/.410/.548 season in his first year in a new league and in the toughest division in baseball was seen as something of a disappointment (but short of an MVP and World Series MVP, nothing was going to reach the lofty expectations of Red Sox fans coming into 2011). Gonzalez's 27 homers was his lowest total since 2006, his first full season in the big leagues, but he still led baseball with 213 hits and his 45 doubles ranked sixth in the league.

Not only is Gonzalez one of the best offensive players in the game, he's won four consecutive Gold Gloves, winning the award in both leagues.

As for the contract status, both players are more than fairly compensated, with Cabrera due to make $86 million over the next four seasons and Gonzalez signed through the 2018 season for a cool $154 million.

Our call

While Gonzalez is a very good player, Cabrera has the chance to be an all-time great. Gonzalez has better defense, but we're talking first base here, not shortstop. There would be some worry about Cabrera's off-the-field problems, but he's bounced back from those and he's never played less than 150 games since becoming a regular as a 21-year-old in 2004. He's the choice, no matter if he's a first baseman or a DH, because his bat is just that good.

Fan Vote: Would you rather have Cabrera or Gonzalez on your favorite team?



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Comments

Since: Sep 21, 2011
Posted on: January 30, 2012 11:41 am
 

Would You Rather Have: Cabrera or Gonzalez?

the best is yet to come from Gonzo. But Cabrera is one heluva hitter. Lets see how he does without protection from V-Mart.



Since: Jan 24, 2012
Posted on: January 25, 2012 2:07 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Cabrera or Gonzalez?

Every Bosox fan believed the addition of Gonzo would easily take them to the World Series including all of our favorite sports pundits (albeit with a guy named Crawford), but we know how that story eneded. He somehow only hit 27 bombs while everyone, including me, figured an easy 40 based on his history. Great all around hitter and great #3 batter but without a doubt Cabby is the favorite here. The guy is a stud from top to bottom.



Since: Apr 16, 2009
Posted on: January 25, 2012 12:48 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Cabrera or Gonzalez?

This is a dumb question.... Miggy is the best hitter in baseball today. I take hime before any hitter in the game. Reports are that he is in monster shape and has re-dedicated himself to being the best. If Fister and Sherzer have decent years, the Tigers are going to win the World Series this season. (Don't forget that Brennan will be healthy and Avila will be in his 3rd year and coming off an All-Star season.... wow)



Since: Oct 9, 2008
Posted on: January 23, 2012 6:37 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Cabrera or Gonzalez?

Not trying to be petty here... but objectively, if Cabrera has another off-field issue - one more serious than the DUI/altercation last spring training - I have a strong feeling it would very much affect his performance, if not his very availability. Sorry, but the risk is very real and forever casts a shadow above this incredibly talented slugger. Sorry, but I go with the safer choice in Gonzo instead of pretending there's no high-stakes roll of the dice with Cabby day after day.



Since: Feb 26, 2010
Posted on: January 23, 2012 3:55 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Cabrera or Gonzalez?

I'll take Cabrera. By the way, catcher is far and away the hardest position in sports. QB is right up there and maybe the most difficult to beat great at, but the daily grind of a major league catcher is unmatched, that's all. 



Since: Oct 27, 2011
Posted on: January 23, 2012 1:47 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Cabrera or Gonzalez?

whoever says CF is the hardest position in the game is an idiot. C, SS, P and 3B are all harder than CF. Speed can make up for anything in the outfield. At C you need to call a game so you need to not only know everything about the Pitchers you will catch sometimes up near 5 or 6 a game but need to know the weaknesses of every hitter on the other team including there bench. SS is the team leader on the field and usually the most athletic guy on the field or at least should be (and a ground ball is much harder to field than a ball in the air). Pitchers need confidence, command and multiple pitches to be sucessful, a cf can play defense and steal bases and be on a team. and who the hell wants to play 3B with hitters like Pujols, M. Cabrera, M. Stanton, A. Rod and other beasts hitting line drives and one hoppers at you especially when you have to play in to turn a double play?



Since: May 29, 2009
Posted on: January 22, 2012 9:17 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Cabrera or Gonzalez?

for the record, i think it's a stupid comparison because of each player's different respective attributes.  obviously at the current time i would take cabrera hands down (he probably is the best hitter around nowadays), but i think that andruw jones's case for the HOF is horribly underappreciated.  the man could commonly combine a .350+ obp, 35+ homeruns, and the best defense at the hardest position in the game.  while it is clear that jones lacked the consistency of cabrera, if you get 40 homeruns and a .350 obp from someone playing unparalleled CF, you have a player that is certainly more valuable to a team during that season than cabrera has ever put forth (and i think if you look at jones's WAR in the period 04-06, it would back me up).  ini fact, if we give the HOF spot to ozzie smith, then certainly andruw jones deserves one; he was an equally capable defender and actually provided extensive offense as well. but to back up your point, jones has never been nearly the consistent offensive threat that cabrera is; i would never argue that.
andruw jones lost his chance at the HOF when he let himself go.  There is no chance he gets in the HOF with a career .256 average.

his 9 gold gloves is very impressive, but in today's game, you have to hit much better than .256 to get into the HOF.  if he put up those numbers in the 70's or 80's -- he would get in.

the only player with an average like Jones in the HOF is Harmon Killebrew and he hit 573 homeruns.




Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: January 22, 2012 8:01 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Cabrera or Gonzalez?

for the record, i think it's a stupid comparison because of each player's different respective attributes.  obviously at the current time i would take cabrera hands down (he probably is the best hitter around nowadays), but i think that andruw jones's case for the HOF is horribly underappreciated.  the man could commonly combine a .350+ obp, 35+ homeruns, and the best defense at the hardest position in the game.  while it is clear that jones lacked the consistency of cabrera, if you get 40 homeruns and a .350 obp from someone playing unparalleled CF, you have a player that is certainly more valuable to a team during that season than cabrera has ever put forth (and i think if you look at jones's WAR in the period 04-06, it would back me up).  ini fact, if we give the HOF spot to ozzie smith, then certainly andruw jones deserves one; he was an equally capable defender and actually provided extensive offense as well. but to back up your point, jones has never been nearly the consistent offensive threat that cabrera is; i would never argue that.



Since: May 29, 2009
Posted on: January 22, 2012 7:57 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Cabrera or Gonzalez?

Oh look! Another poster that agrees with me and thinks tripleight is a moron. 
Not terribly difficult to agree with you -- no one with half a brain would compare Miguel Cabrera and Andruw Jones.

Not only do they play completely different positions, Jones most impressive attribute was his glove -- something Cabrera has never been known for.  On top of that -- after Cabrera signed his huge extension, his numbers have improved each and every year.  Jones is past his prime, while Cabrera is just entering his prime years.

 



Since: Apr 2, 2009
Posted on: January 22, 2012 6:29 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Cabrera or Gonzalez?

Not to overlook Cabrera's ability as a hitter, but I'd like to give him credit as a baserunner.  He's not fast by any means, but he's a real pain to the opposition once he gets on base. (Which, as already stated several times, is more than everybody else in baseball basicly.)  The man loves to run the bases, not just trot around them (He'll blow thru a stop sign every now and then, which as a Tigers fan, is a good thing.)  And as his discipline at the plate continues to improve, he'll get a lot more opportunities to do so. (It won't hurt him any that he'll break the A.L. intentional walk record this season.)

No offense to Adrian Gonzalez, who is clearly an excellent overall player, but I'd take Miguel Cabrera over ever single position player in baseballl, even Albert Pujols.  He's that good.  His opposite field power is amazing, and he's in nearly the perfect ballpark to take advantage. (48 doubles from a man his size is nothing to scoff at.)



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