Detroit Tigers: Pros and cons of Miguel Cabrera playing first base in 2021

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Detroit Tigers, Miguel Cabrera
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Take a look at the Pros of the Detroit Tigers sending Miguel Cabrera out to first base in 2021.

If Miguel Cabrera is to return to the field, there are some positive effects to it. Cabrera being back at first base means that the Detroit Tigers do not need to bring in a first baseman this offseason and can rather ride off of a platoon-like environment using the organization’s versatility.

For example, Cabrera could play whatever percentage of the games Hinch is planning on, whether that be around 60% or even higher at like 80-90%, leaving players like Jeimer Candelario and/or Niko Goodrum consistently slotting in over at first base to give Cabrera days off.

Cabrera’s return to the field would also mean good things for the efficiency of his contract. What I mean by this is Cabrera is slated to take home $30 million in 2021 and $32 million in the next two years, which is just inefficient to bury him as the designated hitter.

While payroll is not really an issue for the Tigers, no team wants to pay their designated hitter $30-32 million a season to be vastly subpar from where their skill level was in past years. Now, no one was expecting Cabrera to have Triple Crown like numbers every year through his 30s and into his 40s, but this is still a hefty check to cut.

In 2020, Cabrera played 57 games where he hit .250/.329/.417 with ten home runs and 35 RBI while spending all of these games as the designated hitter. In 2019, the fielding split was 107 games as a designated hitter and only 26 as a first baseman.

While the downturn in time at first base is negative, the fact that he could get back there is a positive thing. So there actually are some positives, even if they are minimal. Moving on, take a look at the other side of things, the idea of keeping Cabrera away from first base in 2021.