For the fourth time in five games, Miguel Cabrera was scratched from the lineup card Wednesday night, due to his abdomen and recent groin injuries.
He hasn’t played since September 3, and many have speculated whether his consecutive MVP/Triple Crown run will be in jeopardy. In the last game he played two days ago, he let out a wince during his first plate appearance when he popped out to right field. He ended that game going 0-for-4 with a strikeout.
The following day when he was taken out of the lineup, many went straight to panic-mode.
The fact is Miguel Cabrera needs a break. This is a man who played 161 games in both 2011 and 2012. Not to mention, he’s played in 128 of 139 games this season, thus far. Remember, it wasn’t long ago (July) that Cabrera sat out a handful of games with a hip injury. While he is the closest thing we’ve seen to a super hero in baseball, he isn’t God. Come on, even God rested.
If the Tigers wants to keep their star consistent and healthy, they must be willing to sit him sporadically during this last stretch of the season. This should be a precedent for seasons to come for Detroit, now that the Triple Crown winner is 30 years old. He’s in the prime of his career, and his bat is more valuable than his glove. Runs mean more than putouts.
There has been talk about switching Miggy to designated hitter for the 2014 season. The million-dollar question then would be, who plays third base? The Tigers recently brought up number-one prospect Nick Castellanos on September 1. The kid can play third very well and the outfield, if need be. He seems like a fine, long-term candidate for the job. There is also utility man Don Kelly, but his offensive downside puts him at a disadvantage for an everyday third baseman. Plus, he’s more valuable as a utility man. Some have speculated the Tigers could even transition Victor Martinez over. This too would be a bad decision due to his age.
As it stands right now, the Tigers need Miguel Cabrera for their playoff push. Prince Fielder cannot carry the middle of this lineup. Reaching the playoffs seems to be in their favor, but even so, a healthy Cabrera is crucial if they plan to go deep in the postseason.
Looking at their September schedule, the Tigers can easily sit out their star in any one of the series ahead, which includes a few sub-.500 teams like the Mariners, Marlins and Twins. Having a lot of rest in September could put Miguel Cabrera back on track for a productive postseason for the Tigers.