The Tigers will open the season with Miguel Cabrera lined up at first base, manager A.J. Hinch told reporters this morning (Twitter link via Jason Beck of MLB.com). “I think he gives us the best chance to win at first base,” Hinch said of the soon-to-be 38-year-old. Cabrera didn’t play in the field at all in 2020, serving as a designated hitter for the Tigers on 56 occasions. He did see some action there in 2019 before sustaining a season-ending biceps injury, but Cabrera hasn’t logged even 300 innings in a season at first base since the 2017 campaign. It’s not a permanent arrangement, but playing Cabrera in the field from time to time allows an outfielder to move to DH on occasion and makes it easier for the Tigers to carry Rule 5 pick Akil Baddoo on the Opening Day roster.
Some more notes from the game’s Central divisions:
- Renato Nuñez will remain with the Tigers and head to the alternate training site to begin the 2021 season even after being informed that he didn’t make the Opening Day roster, writes Evan Woodbery of MLive.com. Hinch called the decision “great news for us” and said he expects Nuñez to eventually be up with the big league club. Nuñez, 27 on Sunday, slugged 43 homers with the Orioles from 2019-20 but didn’t exactly force his way onto Detroit’s roster with a spring they couldn’t ignore. In 13 games and 32 plate appearances, he slashed .194/.219/.355 with a homer and a dozen strikeouts (37.5 percent).
- The Cubs have interest in catchers Tony Wolters and Jonathan Lucroy, reports Bruce Levine of 670 the Score (Twitter link). A deal with the left-handed hitting Wolters might be more likely, Levine notes, considering Chicago’s starting catcher, Willson Contreras, hits right-handed. Both Wolters and Lucroy were recently released from minor-league deals with other clubs (the Pirates and White Sox, respectively) after failing to crack the active roster. Wolters has spent his entire MLB career with the Rockies, while Lucroy briefly played for the Cubs in 2019.
- Pirates right-hander Cody Ponce will not be available for Opening Day, GM Ben Cherington announced to reporters (including Rob Biertempfel of the Athletic). The 26-year-old “felt something…in his forearm area,” in the words of the GM. That sounds rather ominous but Ponce has at least been able to continue throwing on the side as he attempts to work through the injury. A former second-round pick of the Brewers, Ponce made his MLB debut with Pittsburgh last season, working to a 3.18 ERA/5.27 SIERA over five appearances.
Oh ya, Cabrera at first. What could ever go wrong.
Probably hoping he gets hurt so they can put him on the long term IL
Report has it 4-60 the original Rizzo extension offer, then went to 5-70. So either Rizzo takes it and Baez gets a low ball or he doesn’t and the Flubs throw more money at the overrated Baez. Either way the Flubs lose. What a disaster.
What does this have to do w Miggy
Still obsessed with the Cubs.
They’re better off throwing money at a younger and more athletic player in Baez.
Hard to walk with four balls
Baez’ tags at second base alone are worth more.
Tigers need Miggy to be Miggy, if he has a goof year 75 wins are possible. If not we’re looking at 60-65
So miggy has a war of 10 to 15? That’s pretty good for a 38 year old.
For Love of the Game
I think Wiley means that a strong year from Miggy will set a positive tone for the team and a signal they are on the rise, but otherwise it will be another 100 loss year. That sounds pretty accurate.
Does it really matter? He prefers to play the field, hits better when he plays the field. So why not let him play some at first this year? He is going to be paid no matter what. If he gets hurt, put him on the IL. We are not contenders and likely will not be through the rest of his contract. So not like he is critical to the team’s success.
Sad but true. Weird how far the wheel has gone round that a $23m player is playing 1B to keep a rule 5 pick on the roster.
I love Detroit as a city (went there for the ALDS in 2013) and love the charismatic Miggy to bits but am well pleased I follow a team that simply won’t get strangled by this sort of contract. Just 3 for 30 to effin Billy Butler….
He’s playing the field because he’s actually a solid 1B, hits better vs DH’ing, and it provides roster flexibility. Nunez was cut to make room for Badoo.
Detroit has never really been strangled by Miggy’s contract. When Mr I was alive, they spent. When he passed, they stopped spending.
TigersDoc616, I agree that we are better with him playing first. Well said. I do believe that next year, there will be significant spending in free agency. Not wasteful spending, but you’ll see us buying a couple big pieces.
I like Ponce. I think he can be a pretty solid long relief/swingman type arm. He has a ton of spin on his fastball and cutter. Hope it’s nothing more than just a sore muscle, but you never know when it comes to forearm stuff.
I like him even more. I was hoping he could be a starter 2nd half this year and 2022. In perfect scenario Kuhl Brault Anderson Cahill are traded. 2022 rotation is some combination of Yajure Contreras Crowe Ponce De Jong Keller Bolton with Brault Kuhl if nobody wants them. 2023 the better pitchers should be coming up but hopefully the 2022 group has someone emerge to be better than anticipated, my guess would be one of the Yankees, and a couple solid back end guys.
You have to give Keller some slack. Cole and Tallion wasn’t hitting everyone’s radar in their first 2 seasons in the majors. Technically, this is the year where Keller set himself as a top end starter or backend starter. He’s probably the best starter they have this year.
I give Keller some slack simply because he has less than 70 ip in the mlb. If he is respectable this season i’ll give him some slack until 22 as well..
he continues to be pretty bad then … well…
I think he’ll be better this season with consistent innings
EDIT: and Cole was pretty good straight out of the minors.
@joew I bet you said the same about Glasnow too. Look how that worked out. Don’t cut Keller so short
Glassnow was bad in our system. Had we had a new coaching staff here he might have been good here but whatever they where teaching him at the MLB level certainly wasn’t cutting it.
Keller could be the same just needs more time with the new staff. I’m not really cutting him short he still has time. after he added his slider is where things started to take a turn. Probably at Ray’s request. If they just ignore that and go with what worked before i’m guessing he’ll have better luck.
He’s got about 5 years left on his rookie contract. If he doesn’t look like some sort of rotation arm going into next season then the Pirates have to make a decision. If he is a make or brake in an other wise quality trade they might have to take it. As it stands right now. Next month he could be looking great and all of this doesn’t matter 🙂
Personally I would try to extend him on a low ball contract with plenty of bonuses that are reasonably achieve able for a back end starter.
I think he knows the Pirates could lose 100 games this year. I would have a sore arm, leg, knee whatever it took not to subject myself to seeing 100 loss season and stay in Florida as long as I could.
No mas Lucroy, por favor
Time to release Cabrera (or, t be gentle, let him know that he will be cut so that he can retire gracefully).. He has not had positive value since like 2017 and there is no reason to suspect that it will ever get any better. The money is a sunk cost.. Time to try young players who have a chance of being a part of a better team down the road.
Hard to walk with four balls
Nonsense. Cabrera had one of the highest exit velocities in all of MLB last year,
The guy hits the ball pretty hard for: “no reason to suspect that it will ever get any better.” and with good reason he will still be in the Tiger’s lineup.
As bad as he’s been, he’s still better than most of the players on that team. Don’t talk about cutting him until they find some major league players to replace him with.
The money means nothing. The Tigers had a $200 million payroll just a few years ago. They can afford a $30 million player.
Yeah, nobody’s going to notice the GM cutting a sure-fire HOFer with major career goals in site. What Tiger fans want is more AA players trying their hand at first-base.
The money they’ll get from fans wanting to see miggy go for 3000 hits (134 away) and 500 bombs(13 away)
Thru 2016, he had a 161 OPS+ while in Det. Even thru 2020, it’s still 149. It’s worth them to run him out and hope he gets there quickly… then they can send him to pasture. But both the team and player benefit from these chases for historic/personal records. Viewership is up, tickets likely will go up, merchandise goes up. Etc
Wolters has a good memory at Wrigley. Game-winning extra-inning hit in the 2018 Wild Card game.
MLB next year adds 10th player to field . DH goes shifting goes !
Nah, only the Pitcher & Catcher take the field. If the batter hits the pitch, Statcast tells us if it would be caught or how many bases. No need for any fielders, everyone is a dh so that no big contract player ever needs to risk injury.