The Detroit Tigers are not exactly a good baseball team. However, they’ve been decent enough to hang around in what’s become a putrid AL Central. Right now, Cleveland leads the way with a record of 35-30. Though, it seems as though they are starting to get their act together. Five games off their pace sit the Minnesota Twins (29-34). And just behind them? You’re right, it’s the Tigers (31-37). But in the bottom of third inning Tuesday night against the Twins, Miguel Cabrera would leave the game. And this time, it’s not an injury he’ll be able to play through. In fact, per ESPN, he’s going to miss the rest of the 2018 season after rupturing his left biceps tendon.
“He feels bad, he feels really bad,” Tigers manager Rod Gardenhire said. “He feels like he’s letting people down.”
Cabrera, of course, has made a career out of playing through injuries. But now 35 years old, that’s only going to get tougher and tougher to do. Last season it would appear to firmly take its toll, as Cabrera slashed just .249/.329/.399 with 22 doubles and 16 home runs. But this season despite his power numbers not coming back, Cabrera was hitting again — .299/.395/.448 with 11 doubles and three home runs. Remember, he’ll be making between $30-million and $32-million per season through the year 2023. By then, he’ll be 40 years old.
Plus Cabrera has two vesting options — both for $30-million — to keep in mind ahead of the 2024 and 2025 seasons. However, the chances of those options vesting — Cabrera would have to finish top 10 in MVP voting in 2023 to have it vest for 2024, and finish top 10 in MVP voting in 2024 to have it best in 2025 — are unlikely. But right now he’s productive, and the Tigers won’t be able to benefit from that for the rest of the season. Now we’ll see exactly what they’re made of as the season presses on. On the surface, it doesn’t look good.
Cabrera has spent his last 11-plus seasons in Detroit, slashing .318/.398/.556 while racking up 327 dingers and hauling in two MVP Awards along the way. When it comes to recent Tigers legends, the list probably goes Justin Verlander, Cabrera and then Max Scherzer. But without their first baseman for the rest of 2018, will the Tigers be able to stay competitive?