Don’t be surprised when you head out to the ballpark this season if an in-shape Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera trots out to the first base position more than last season.
The future Hall of Famer is undoubtedly going to be in the ear of his manager, begging to return to the field this season. Sure, he’s 37-years old, he’s been a liability in the field as he’s grown old, in fact, he was never a great option in the field, but he’s come to Spring Training in noticeably better shape this season. The Detroit Tigers will once again be bottom feeders this season, but if Miguel Cabrera is raking, fans will continue to attend games.
"“He’s dialed in,” Gardenhire said. “He’s fielding ground balls and feeling really good, too. Now we just have to keep him that way.”"
Last season Miguel Cabrera led the Detroit Tigers with 59 RBI’s. That’s how bad it was last season in Detroit. Forget the atrocious 47-114 record; the team couldn’t do anything offensively, that mixed with disastrous pitching made for an empty ballpark for the majority of the season.
The Detroit Tigers will likely lose 100 games once again in 2020 or close to it, but a performing Miguel Cabrera will at least create some buzz around a rebuilding franchise. Last season he looked way overweight, he never ran out a ground ball, and he didn’t love his role as the teams’ primary designated hitter.
He’s a guy that loves to be in the field, and over his career performs much better offensively when he plays the field. His energized bat always made up for his lack of defensive ability. It seems like he’s much more engaged in the game when he’s goofing around with an opponent trying to take a lead off first.
We are just a year removed from Cabrera who has never really been fond of the press, mentioning his struggles stem from his lack of protection in the lineup. Although he wasn’t exactly wrong, it’s not something the leader of the team should mention. I understand that we want athletes to be honest, but sometimes especially when you are surrounded by a host of young players, the boring politically correct answer is more fitting.
The Detroit Tigers won’t be in a division race or anything, but Cabrera shouldn’t use a lack of protection as an excuse this season. Although I’m not an Al Avila fan, he did land two free agents that will fit in the middle of Detroit’s lineup.
C.J. Cron and Jonathan Schoop both have power. Schoop likely won’t be able to emulate the same success he saw hitting in Baltimore’s park, but he’s still suitable for 15-18 home runs. That’s good production from a second baseman.
Cron, on the other hand, has 25 home run potential in his bat. With an in shape Cabrera likely sandwiched between them in the batting order he may return to the Cabrera we once saw. Not the triple-crown, MVP hitter but the guy who has gap power to each field, and the potential to hit between 20-25 home runs, if that’s the case it’s a great improvement from the 12 he hit in 2019.
Take note: It’s not lineup additions that will suddenly turn a franchise around, but it’s the best protection Cabrera will have since the likes of J.D. Martinez, Victor Martinez, Prince Fielder, and Justin Upton. That mixed with what appears to be a lean, in shape, Miguel Cabrera could make for a little better summer then we had last year.