The Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera blames his lack of offensive production on the lack of protection he regularly sees in a below average lineup.
Detroit Tigers slugging first baseman popped off recently that his lack of power is something fans should not be worried about. He claims he is just focusing on doing his job rather than focusing on hitting home runs.
That’s fine and dandy, but the lack of power is something we should be concerned with especially when a player is being paid North of 30-million per season for the foreseeable future. The 36-year-old is under contract through the 2025 season, but there is an 8-million dollar buy-out option at the conclusion of the 2023 season. This doesn’t need to be said, but 2024 is quite a ways away.
There is some real concern the big fella may never be able to drive in 100 runs again let alone be able to hit 30 home runs; something for a player with his reputation and track record that could speak volumes to this being the beginning of the end for arguably the best but definitely one of the best right-handed hitters in Major League baseball history.
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If you looked back two seasons ago, Miguel Cabrera appeared in 130 games only enjoying a homerun trot 16 times while knocking in merely 60 RBI’s. He stashed a .249 batting average with a .329 OBP|.399 SLG|.728 OPS, not very impressive at the age of 34 for the future first-ballot Hall of Famer. He’s often battled injuries primarily as he’s grown old which is another major concern, how much longer will his body hold up? His days at first-base are numbered whether he likes it or not.
Last year was an injury-plagued season; it was a wash for Miguel who only appeared in 38 games hitting 3 home runs adding just 22 RBI’s. This season Cabrera was fully healthy entering the start of the new baseball season, but the production has yet to translate. Through 30 games prior to yesterday, Miggy is hitting .293 with 1 HR &12 RBI’s. With just six extra-base hits on the season. He’s hitting third every day for manager Ron Gardenhire behind the teams’ best hitter over the last couple of seasons Nick Castellanos. But like Miguel, Nick is off to a plodding start himself. Having the teams’ top two hitters slumping really handcuffs the Detroit Tigers offense.
In an article published by Freep.com written by Chris Nelsen, Miguel Cabrera asks if we know who is hitting behind him in the Tigers lineup;
"“People worry about what?” Cabrera said before Saturday’s game at Comerica Park. “Home runs are coming when they’re coming. I don’t worry about home runs. I worry about getting my job done.“(Fans) need to understand baseball first. After that, if they need to worry about something, they’ll worry. They don’t need to worry about power.”“You know Prince Fielder?” Cabrera said. “You know who’s hitting behind me right now? That’s a big difference, too.“How am I going to hit 40 home runs? In the past, I got Prince Fielder, Victor Martinez, Jhonny Peralta. I got a big bat behind me. You see the way guys pitch me? That explains everything.”"
Cabrera has a point, but it’s something that should never be said publically. He’s expected to be the team leader, a guy young who should be welcoming the young up and coming Detroit Tigers, helping them develop into better ball players, better hitters. There is no need for this comment even if it somewhat justified.
He’s absolutely being pitched around which will prevent him from putting up any type of large production numbers, but it’s up to Ron Gardenhire to figure out other options throughout the lineup to hit fourth. There is no reason why Niko Goodrum who’s hitting fourth on a reasonably regular basis can’t be moved.
Perhaps the Tigers should experiment by moving Goodrum down in the lineup and trying Jeimer Candelario fourth? It wouldn’t prove to be an upgrade at this point but sometimes moving the lineup around ends up sparking players, or moving Castellanos from batting second to fourth.
What this also shows is the hole that Christin Stewart leaves in the Tigers lineup. He’s the ideal clean-up hitter; he allows the skipper to sandwich Miguel between Nick and himself. This also shows how thin the Tigers offense is and will be throughout the entire season. Regardless of the struggles, these comments made above are unacceptable, and this is a bad look for the whole Detroit Tigers organization. Someone should remind Miguel that the franchise is in the midst of a rebuild.