The Detroit Tigers should not play Miguel Cabrera at first in 2021.
As the Detroit Tigers continue prepping for the 2021 season, more news continues to come out about how things will be run under new manager A.J. Hinch and his staff. Hinch took over after the Tigers said goodbye to former manager Ron Gardenhire who retired due to health concerns.
Hinch has named his new staff and gotten to work on prepping for 2021. The latest news from the Detroit Free Press, in an article by Evan Petzold, stated that Hinch is looking to deploy Miguel Cabrera over at first base more often during the 2021 season.
This comes after the 2020 season where Miguel Cabrera played all 57 games, not one of them at first base. Sticking him back out there at first base in 2021 is not the best move for this organization and should not happen.
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Yes, I would rather Cabrera clog the designated hitter spot in 2021 than see him struggle through the season over at first base. He will make $30 million in 2021, followed by a $2 million increase for 2022 on his gargantuan contract.
Cabrera will make $32 million a year for the 2022 and 2023 seasons while suiting up for the Tigers organization.
At this point, his durability is pretty thin, and it just does not seem worth risking injury by putting him at first base.
The now 37-year old Cabrera has worn down in the past couple of seasons after injuries in 2016, and 2018 have seemingly lingered with him.
No question that Cabrera has still been a phenomenal hitter over those seasons since the injuries started a downturn for him.
But a line has to be drawn; in 2019, Cabrera hit .282/.346/.398 with 12 home runs and 59 RBI over 138 games, which was his best showing since 2016. The hope was that he could follow it up nicely in 2020 and show he was “back on track,” but instead, he played in 57 games where he hit .250/.329/.417 with ten home runs and 35 RBI.
Cabrera should be kept at the designated hitter position so that he can make it through a full 2021 season without the worry of injury. If he has to make an occasional appearance at first, sure, that’s fine, but keeping him off the field serves the Tigers best.
The Detroit Tigers have options for their first baseman role; Miguel Cabrera should not be one of them.
The Tigers need to extend a contract offer to C.J. Cron to allow him to return to the field for the Tigers in 2021. Cron could play first comfortably, interchanging Jeimer Candelario and Niko Goodrum there as well.
That being said, the focus should be on keeping those players in the lineup at first and letting Cabrera try to get things on track from the batters’ box as a designated hitter. While A.J. Hinch is planning on letting Cabera see the field at first base during 2021, that is not his best idea.
For the Detroit Tigers, they are going to need Miguel Cabrera to provide as much value as he can to this team, and his offense is what will carry that. Letting him risk re-injury in the field is not something they should even test.
Keep Miggy as the designated hitter and re-sign Cron; it’s as simple as that.