Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera will be limited to DH work for the foreseeable future after being diagnosed with “chronic changes” to his knee, the team told reporters Tuesday (Twitter links via Evan Woodbery of MLive.com and The Athletic’s Cody Stavenhagen).
Dr. James Andrews was among the four surgeons from whom Cabrera sought an opinion, and while season-ending surgery was discussed as an option, it was not recommended in the end. Beyond the news on Cabrera, Woodbery tweets that second baseman Josh Harrison will undergo surgery to repair his partially torn hamstring later this week and is expected to miss six to eight weeks of action.
The outlook on Cabrera is certainly troubling, even though he is not being placed on the injured list. One of the generation’s great sluggers, Cabrera missed most of the 2018 season due a biceps tear and hasn’t been himself at the plate in 2019. While he’s hitting for average and still drawing walks, Cabrera’s power has completely disappeared, and the resulting .284/.356/.356 line is rather light for a full-time designated hitter — solid average and OBP marks notwithstanding.
Furthermore, it doesn’t seem as if this is an issue with much hope of improving. Tigers trainer Doug Teter told reporters that the changes are the “natural result of attrition” from a lengthy career, adding that Cabrera will deal with this issue for the rest of his career. As for the prospect of future surgery, Cabrera indicated today that he simply doesn’t consider it an option at present. Woodbery notes that while Cabrera acknowledged he is “sad” to be moving away from first base, he was also firm in his stance on undergoing another operation: “Forget about that. I’m done with that.”
Beyond the mere fact that a healthy Cabrera is a joy for any fan to watch, his knee issues further underscore the misstep made by the Tigers in extending Cabrera back in 2014. He was already signed for two more years at that point (through age 32), but the Tigers tacked on an additional eight years and $248MM to keep him in Detroit for the remainder of his career. Not only is Cabrera earning $30MM in 2019, he’ll be paid that same sum in 2020 and 2021 before receiving a $32MM salary in both 2022 and 2023. There’s also an $8MM buyout on the Tigers’ club option over Cabrera for the 2024 season.
All told, Cabrera is owed a staggering $151MM from today through the end of contract in 2023. It was always assumed that he’d have to move to DH eventually, but this is probably sooner than the team had hoped. And if this year’s lack of power is in any way a lasting development, the remaining salary owed to Cabrera will prove all the more problematic for the organization. That, of course, remains to be seen. Perhaps Cabrera’s power outage is tied, at least in part, to lingering effects from last year’s biceps tear.
If that’s the case, one would imagine he’ll rediscover some pop as he further distances himself from that surgery. A return to his peak output clearly can’t be expected — we’ve yet to even mention the multiple herniated disks with which he was diagnosed in 2017 — but Cabrera’s average and discipline should allow him to at least be a productive hitter if he can regain some of that extra-base ability. Even in that scenario, though, his salary will be generally viewed as an albatross on the team’s books and will hamper the team’s maneuverability when it is fully ready to emerge from the current rebuilding state.
As for Harrison, he’s playing on a one-year deal worth a guaranteed $2MM and now figures to be out until after the All-Star break. Detroit signed him and his former Pirates double-play partner, Jordy Mercer, to fill out the middle infield in the offseason but haven’t received value from either deal. Harrison was hitting just .176/.219/.265 when he landed on the injured list. His absence will open more playing time for veteran Gordon Beckham and younger options like Dawel Lugo, Niko Goodrum and Ronny Rodriguez.
But hey, Casey Mize!
Probably one of the worst contracts in sports history.
I can’t believe people cry about collusion when it comes to the owners newfound reluctance to hand out these big long term deals. Look at the evidence!!
Baseball fans are more in the moment/what have you done for me lately than just about anybody. If some guy is crying about no one giving him the moon two months ago they scream collusion and unfairness and billionaires sitting on their wallets. Then two months later there’s an article about some albatross contract and they’re like worst contract ever, what was the owner thinking etc.
How about Albert Pujols’s contract?
Miggy’s contract is not de facto evidence that there is no collusion. The evidence of collusion lies in prevailing patterns, not random anecdotes.
Another example of why only players in their mid-20s will ever receive extended long-term deals in the future.
Look at their revenue. they can afford it
Brave in nebraska
Statements like that are why you will never run a baseball team.
sure they can afford it…but this is why you can’t afford to take a family of 4 to a game anymore. L.A. Dodgers…..that’s about 300 or up for so-so seats, 30-50 parking…4dogs and drinks another 30+…then they refuse to put their games on the MLB package unless you’re willing to pay another 7-10 a month…nobody in the LA area was so the “all the games, all season” for the package is bull.
That revenue is coming directly out of your pocket if you area fan
They aren’t really connected. Ticket prices are based on a supply and demand model. The price you pay isn’t impacted by the payroll of the team.
Cabrera’s extension started after his age 32 season. His previous contract (signed in his mid 20s) was a great deal.
allopathy at its finest….baseball needs a paradigm shift
Listen to Mister big words!
Worst? No way. The way the mlbtr writers were whining about guys not getting enough money from those greedy owners… this was an excellent contract. Tigers got two mvp seasons, 4 batting titles, a triple crown and some very deep playoff runs. He was worth every penny.
Show Me Your Tatis
Only contract that was bad was the last one. His second to last contract, had they not extended him through 2023, would have ended after 2015, right around the time the injuries started to creep up.
Show Me Your Tatis
PSA: Cabrera can not be bought out of his contract. MLB contracts are guaranteed and can not be bought out unless paid in full.
The Ghost of Bobby Bonilla
Didn’t Jason Bay get bought out of his deal?
Call up willie Castro to play short. Harold to play second.
he had 4.8 WAR per Fangraphs in 2016. And nothing since. Best bet he’ll have nothing thru the end of the deal either. Assuming each point of WAR is worth $6M (my view), let’s say that $30M of value.. For which the Tigers will have paid $254M. Definitely the worst contract in the history of sports.
Does anyone else think that Miggy might retire before that deal is done? I don’t think he enjoys the game while he’s hurt and can’t contribute based on his standards while this club in a clear rebuilding phase. I know $151M speaks volume but I just don’t see him fulfilling his contractual obligation. First ballot HOF no doubt but sometimes it’s better to retire when your somewhat a former self than to be a guy who stuck around too late.
Show Me Your Tatis
Retire to spend more time with the family…a week with this family, one week with that family. He got some tips on that from Bartolo…
He has a lot of love to give…..
With his child and mistress support obligations? He’ll be playing out that contract.
No way he walks away from $32M per year.
they are paying him what he shouldve made when he was worth 50$/mm/yr and was only making 500k his first 3 years before arb. It all evens out eventually. This one just ended up on the players side and not the owners side for once.
How about losing some weight, chubby?
That has a lot to do with his issues, if he was carrying 20+ less pounds he’d be putting much less strain on his body. Kind of like Hanley who started out as a SS and ended up not even being able to play the field anymore.
How long do you think Guerrero Jr. is going to last…LOL and someone will make the same mistake with him if he starts mashing….probably Arte Moreno because those fool in Anaheim don’t have stupid money, they’re just stupid with their money
I still wouldn’t have surprise if he wins batting crown this year and maybe leads AL in singles. Not too too bad.
I’ve never found Cabrera a joy to watch, even in his prime.
You must hate hitting then.
No way he walks away from $32M per year.
No walking for him…they can send him to pasture but that money is guaranteed!!! Not a bad gig if you can get it….who pays a pro ballplayer into their 40’s….well I mean other than Arte Moreno
Dude was “the man” not that long ago. But like Pujols, Hamilton and A-Rod before him that last 3 or 4 years gets expensive with little return. Tall dollar, long-term, late career contracts are historya
“Staggering $150 million” in 2023 will that even be a lot? The Tigers literally said “Yes we will pay a 42 year old hitter $30M” and that’s honestly probably a fair contract, if you compare with how much revenue Cabrera brings into the game.
Oh, you guys are talking about the totally arbitrary, mlb team owner-deciding, “rate” of salaries, acting as if performance is the only reason to spend money to bring a guy into your organization. Riiiight…
The Tigers are going to be selling Cabrera jerseys well after we are all dead, but he’s the bad guy because his body broke. Ok.
Go back to your internship with scott working on keuchel’s contract.
The revenues from jersey sales are split amongst all 30 teams plus the mlbpa. A team itself only gets to keep the retail markup on only those units sold inside the stadium and at the team store.
So, you might be talking what, $10 a unit? With overhead, taxes, etc to pay as well? Plus a little thing called time-value of money, where if I have to pay 150 mil over 4 years, then wait 50 years to sell 15 million jerseys (maybe, if ever) just to break even? If you only got 3% annual return on that 150 mil past year 4, thats another 4.5mil/yr in the hole.
Face it, there is no value in a singles hitting dh attendance-wise, that doesn’t draw butts to the seats or anywhere else. If you had 5 star web gem fielding, or 40-50 hr mashing, people go to see that. But not a tail end singles hitter on a downspin that plays on a cellar bound team.
Deadweight bad contract here we come. Train is at the station
No Soup For Yu!
As a business major, I can tell from this conversation who actually knows some stuff about how business works and who doesn’t, Strike Four really must be interning with Boras with that logic. I can totally see Boras trying to convince a team that the money they bring in on merchandise will be a huge difference maker.
As a life long twins fan this is really lame. He was fun as hell to watch even though he was mashing homers againat us from foul pole to foul pole. I’ll never forget the time he popped up a 62mph curveball from Livan and started screaming at him. He looked like a 13 year old yelling at his grandpa
The Ghost of Bobby Bonilla
Trade Pujols for Miggy. Which team says no?
Yip….can you say Carl Crawford…add him to the list of good money for stupid contracts
Time to retire. Both him and Pujols. So sick of players scoring big contracts and have the audacity to say “I owe it to the team to play out my contract.”
Why should he retire? They offered him the contract – he agreed. If a company offered me more money than I was worth, you’d better believe I’d sign it and enjoy every single penny of it. It’s not his fault that Tigers management/ownership was incredibly short-sighted. They went all in trying to win one for Little Caesar and it bit back – them’s the breaks.
What is “Chronic Change”?
It is code for Tigers paying special doctor to write a notice that convinces Miggy to accept DH role without whining
No one is going to mention Miggy going 3 for 4 with a homer and 5 RBI? The very day people are writing him off, he has a big day against the reining CY. A bad knee, old and over weight and he still outhits the young guys. He’s worth the $32 mil.
Looks like Blake Snell found Miggy’s missing power. That grand slam went a long way. Sad that Scott Adams refuses to look at modern stats like exit velocity, barrels, etc and continues to peddle this story. All the knee issue means is that Miggy is moving to DH. Last night’s performance against a Cy Young winner is an example of what he can do when his lower body is feeling good. His exit velocity hasn’t dropped and is still near the top of the league. Hopefully this is the last one of these misleading articles.
There’s nothing misleading about this article. Which part is untrue?
Using his season hitting line instead of more advanced metrics or his 7/14/30 day splits is totally misleading. Cabrera openly discussed using April & early May to regain his timing and focusing on contact over power. His 14 day split over 9 games has been .300/.371/.533. He s exit velocity hasn’t shown a decline, which would much more indicative of a decline then April’s numbers.
Anyone can have a great game against a great pitcher – it happens. You’re complaining about not using certain indicators while you’re using a single game sample in your first comment. He can say “oh, April and May are just for getting things in order”, but uh, that doesn’t change the fact that he now has 22 home runs in his past three seasons, including this year, thanks to injury, age, or whatever.
I used his recent performance & his Statcast exit velocity numbers. If you prefer to ignore advanced stats, feel free.
And all of those advanced stats have not turned into much power or production. Maybe it’s all injury-related, injuries he has seemingly been dealing with for the better part of three seasons now. Maybe it’s bad luck. Or maybe it’s an older player trending precipitously downward, at least in the power department. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with his eyes or his understanding of the strike zone, as his OBP clearly demonstrates. However, he’s 36 and he’s been playing full time since he was 20 – that’s a lot of mileage. If he finishes the season with a slugging over .500, then I’ll gladly offer an apology.