DETROIT -- Nobody expected Miguel Cabrera to become a Gold Glove third baseman in his return to the hot corner. His chances at a Silver Slugger, though, sure looked better than they did when he was at first base.
In the end it wouldn't have mattered what position he was playing. He hit that well. His move, however, allowed the Tigers to field Silver Slugger winners at both corners.
While Cabrera won his fourth career Silver Slugger, and his second at the hot corner, Prince Fielder became just the fourth first baseman to collect Silver Slugger awards in both leagues.
It also marked the first time since 2007 that the Tigers had multiple Silver Slugger winners, and the first time in the award's history that an American League team won Silver Sluggers at both corner infield spots.
Cabrera has won Silver Sluggers at three positions across both leagues, though he has never won the same award twice. This one might be the sweetest of them all.
Cabrera won one Silver Slugger over four seasons at first base. That came in 2010; he lost to three different competitors in the other three years. He moved across the infield in January to make room for Fielder.
Although almost all of the questions surrounding Cabrera's move involved his defense, there was at least a little bit of intrigue as to whether his offense would be affected, either by the extra work or by the slimmer frame he sported for the move.
Instead he turned in the best all-around offensive season of his career, and the first Triple Crown performance in 45 years. Not since Joe DiMaggio in 1937 had a Major Leaguer posted at least 200 hits, a .330 average, 44 home runs and 139 RBIs in the same season.
Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre, the AL's Silver Slugger at the hot corner the last two years, made his best push, batting .321 with 36 home runs and 102 RBIs. Cabrera's numbers, though, couldn't be topped.
Fielder came to Detroit with two Silver Slugger Awards on his resume, having taken the National League honors last season as well as in 2007. The combination of the depth in the AL at first base and the transition from Miller Park to Comerica Park was supposed to put a damper on his chances for adding another -- at least right away.
Instead, Fielder's adjustment to the league brought out some of the best in his game. Though his 30 home runs marked his fewest since his rookie season, 2006, his .313 average obliterated his previous career best.
Twice in Milwaukee he fell just shy of .300. But the way he hit to the opposite field and the way he hit left-handed pitching this year left little suspense.
Only Edwin Encarnacion had a higher OPS (.941) than Fielder (.940) among Major League first basemen, and Encarnacion started just 66 games at first. Among regular first basemen, Fielder was the only one with an OPS over .880.