It’s becoming more and more obvious that Miguel Cabrera isn’t running to the best of his ability, and his somewhat-injured approach to getting around the bases has now gotten worse.
Cabrera hit a frozen rope off the wall Thursday against the Oakland Athletics and naturally assumed the ball was hit far enough away that he could turn it into a double. Instead he ended up laboring to second base and was thrown out by Coco Crisp who was deep in center field. He also added an injury to go with his insult, aggravating the hip issue that has caused Cabrera to labor in the first place.
Cabrera has been playing every day despite the fact he’s clearly suffering, and he hurt his hip badly enough to be removed from the game just a day before the Detroit Tigers host the Cleveland Indians for a crucial AL Central series.
Cabrera is usually rather spry for a player of his size, but he hasn’t even been a factor when it comes to legging out an infield single. On Monday, Josh Donaldson had enough time to throw Cabrera out at first by a handful of steps despite the fact he bobbled the ball multiple times.
The Tigers have a couple of options that could help them get the most out of Cabrera for the rest of the season. Even while injured, he can still impact the game with his bat. They would benefit from allowing Cabrera to DH for the rest of the season to give him a break in the field. He would at least be able to take a little stress off his hip but still do damage with his bat.
The problem with this equation is that it forces Victor Martinez to get a new role, but fortunately for the Tigers, it appears catching might be a possibility. The bottom line is, if they are going to insist on playing Cabrera while he’s injured they would be doing themselves a favor if they did whatever they could to get the most out of him. If that means forcing a healthy Martinez to catch, then so be it.
The Tigers would have a few options at third base. They could possibly call up Nick Castellanos and allow him to play his old position while showing what he can do in the majors for the first time of his career.
They could also play Matt Tuiasosopo, who has played the position before and would still give them power from the position.
And if the Tigers are still playing well enough to be playing in October, they might consider using Jhonny Peralta at third base when he is eligible to return from his suspension. This would allow Jose Iglesias to keep his job at shortstop while improving the defense and keeping the best bats in the lineup.
Cabrera can clearly help the team, even in his injured state. With all the struggles he’s had staying healthy lately, it makes the most sense to give Cabrera as much rest as he can while still allowing him to swing the bat. He’s putting on a show, and it’s not like people come to the park to see him play defense anyway.