The Detroit Tigers took a major step towards re-shuffling their lineup this off-season when they traded slugging first baseman Prince Fielder to the Texas Rangers in exchange for second baseman Ian Kinsler.
With the regular season just around the corner, the Tigers announced that the lineup changes won’t stop there. From Jason Beck of MLB.com, manager Brad Ausmus says that Kinsler will bat lead-off and Austin Jackson, who has been a fixture in that spot, will slide down to the 5th in the order.
"After five weeks of Grapefruit League play and just about that much speculation, manager Brad Ausmus finally announced his Opening Day lineup Sunday morning at Comerica Park. Jackson will bat fifth, just behind the duo of Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez…Ian Kinsler will bat leadoff, reprising the role he held for most of his Texas tenure.”"
Jackson was maddening at times at the top of the order, as his free swinging ways often got in the way of the on-base skills normally sought after in that spot. As Beck notes, Kinsler has been there for much of his career and in a potent lineup, to boot, while playing for the Rangers.
Jackson won’t bring the pop that other #5 hitters bring, but he still ought to benefit from the chance to drive in some runs. An interesting move by the Tigers as they enter in a season in which they are considered favorites in the AL Central.