Detroit Tigers: League pause will slow aging players like Miguel Cabrera

(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) /

Have you ever wondered how the MLB pause will affect veteran ballplayers, or in this case, Detroit Tigers star Miguel Cabrera?

This isn’t going to be just another COVID-19 article.  It’s a serious issue, the professional sports pause was necessary and the severity of the disease is much more important than sports itself. While understanding COVID-19’s seriousness, it’s impeded the progress of the young Detroit Tigers fringe roster hopefuls, prospects, and veteran players.

For the established major leaguers in the prime of their careers, this work stoppage shouldn’t play any role in their future success.  It’s the young up and coming players that are losing out on valuable time in minor league baseball to round out their skill-set.

It’s also the veteran players at the end of their career with a year or two left that the pause hurts the most.  Take Detroit Tigers slugger and future Hall of Famer, Miguel Cabrera, for example.

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Cabrera arrived to Spring Training in what appeared to be tremendous shape.  The now every day designated hitter entered camp lighter than he’s been in years.  He mentioned he’d been embarrassed about his performance over the last couple of seasons.  As he’s aged, he’s endured a plethora of various injures.  Cabrera has often complained about playing hurt for some time; he’s expressed his displeasure with both the media and Detroit Tigers fans about being criticized for his diminishing stats over the last couple of seasons.

Don’t forget; it was just a year ago Cabrera openly credited his lack of protection in the Detroit Tigers lineup for his struggles at the plate.  Sure, we can all agree, but that’s nothing a leader should state publically.  Many of the young Tigers players admire the future Hall of Famer; he should be trying to elevate their game, help develop the young hitters during the Tigers rebuild; not embarrass them publically.

It was the start of the training camp that we saw a different side of Cabrera.  Sure, the games didn’t matter, the pressure was off, but Miguel seemed like he was having fun again.  The Detroit Tigers added the powerful C.J. Cron and second baseman Jonathan Schoop to surround Cabrera in the Detroit lineup.  A significant upgrade to last season, in hopes of aiding Miguel at the plate.

After changing his diet, appearing trimmed down, one can’t help but wonder how Cabrera will show back up once baseball returns.  Will he still be in great shape?  Will he have gained that dreaded quarantine weight?  Will his bat speed be up to date?  What about the gap power and the ability to drive the baseball to the opposite field? The extended break is worrisome for aging players.

It’s challenging for a veteran player to remain up to speed after being out of the game for an elongated amount of time.

At 37-years old, Cabrera had hoped to enjoy a bounce-back season.  When you look back to 2016, Cabrera hit 38 home runs and drove in 108 runs while stashing an impressive .316/.393/.563. Over the last three seasons combined, he’s compiled 31 home runs, 141 RBIs, and stashed a mediocre .270/.345/.404 line.

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There is a clear declining pattern happening here.  Let’s hope Cabrera was able to maintain his weight and can return to the Detroit Tigers later this summer, ready to rake.