In the micro of the 2018 season, Miguel Cabrera’s season-ending arm injury hurts the Tigers little. They weren’t expected to contend this year in the weak AL Central, or to even be as competitive as they have been (a 31-37 record through Tuesday). miguel cabrera injury video, miguel cabrera triple crown highlights, miguel cabrera rotoworld
In the macro, it helps general manager Al Avila a lot. He now has more cover to accelerate a summer sell-off and move the rebuild forward.
Detroit’s players and first-year manager Ron Gardenhire have been doing their best to convince Avila to delay rolling the tank through Comerica Park. Decent starting pitching, solid offensive production from Nicholas Castellanos, Jeimer Candelario and Leonys Martin, and Shane Greene’s work as a closer have kept them close to the first-place Indians. miguel cabrera injury video, miguel cabrera triple crown highlights, miguel cabrera rotoworld
They even managed to go 15-14 in May while Cabrera was out with hamstring and back issues. John Hicks, a journeyman converted catcher, was productive as Miggy’s fill-in (.304/.345/.451, three home runs in 110 plate appearances). Gardenhire told reporters Tuesday that Hicks will fill in once more. miguel cabrera injury video, miguel cabrera triple crown highlights, miguel cabrera rotoworld
But, as catcher James McCann said Tuesday after the Tigers’ 6-4 loss to the Twins, a 3 1/2-month injury is a lot tougher to negotiate.
“You can’t replace a guy like that,” McCann said, per the Detroit Free Press. “What he brings to the table, as a hitter in our lineup (Cabrera began Tuesday with a .301/.394/.451 slash line), but also as just a veteran in the clubhouse. You can’t replace it. Hicks did a good job early in the year, stepping in and filling his void, but you’re talking about (a) seasonlong void. It’s different than just a couple weeks.”
If Avila sees the Cabrera injury as the cue to consider the season over, he can start offering in earnest these half-dozen players to contenders: miguel cabrera injury video, miguel cabrera triple crown highlights, miguel cabrera rotoworld
RHP Michael Fulmer. There was trade talk regarding Fulmer last year, and Cabrera’s absence should intensify the chatter. Fulmer is a 25-year-old staff leader who can’t become a free agent until after the 2022 season. There is, however, a red flag: He had elbow surgery last September and his 2018 numbers have not been good (4.40 ERA/4.27 FIP, 1.30 WHIP, 2.30 K/BB).
RHP Mike Fiers. Fiers signed a one-year, $6 million contract with the Tigers last offseason after the Astros made him a free agent. He has been as advertised: a mid-rotation starter who can work deep into games. Fiers’ 4.01 ERA, aided by a sharp improvement in his control (1.9 BB/9 against a 2.8 career ratio), is right in line with his 4.14 career mark.
LHP Francisco Liriano. Liriano (hamstring) is expected to return from the disabled list this weekend. That would give him about six weeks to audition for pitching-needy clubs. Like Fiers, he has been serviceable this year (3.90 ERA/4.96 FIP, 1.21 WHIP), although his strikeouts have been down (7.0 per 9). He’s making just $4 million on a one-year contract. miguel cabrera injury video, miguel cabrera triple crown highlights, miguel cabrera rotoworld
RHP Shane Greene. The 29-year-old Greene could be an intriguing deadline option. He’s 15 for 18 in save opportunities this year despite a 4.02 ERA and he has two years of club control after this season. The production and contract should warrant at least a few trade discussions.
CF Leonys Martin. The veteran has bounced back from a lost 2017 season with the Mariners and Cubs. He’s playing every day — in fact, most of the Tigers’ regulars are playing every day, because the bench is thin — and producing (.805 OPS, nine home runs, three defensive runs saved). Even better, he’s making just $1.75 million this year and will be arbitration-eligible in 2019. Teams hunting for outfield depth should be calling Avila. miguel cabrera injury video, miguel cabrera triple crown highlights, miguel cabrera rotoworld
SS Jose Iglesias. The defense-first Iglesias has been on the market for months. Avila told reporters in January (per CBS Detroit) that he expected to trade the pending free agent this season. Iglesias, 28, remains a below-average hitter (.305 OBP, 86 OPS+), so teams better be in love with the glove.
That leaves Castellanos, Candelario, closer-in-waiting Joe Jimenez, left-hander Matthew Boyd and maybe McCann (Avila will listen on him, too) to help form the cornerstone once the razing is finished. With Cabrera done for the year, the bulldozer is closer to getting cranked up. miguel cabrera injury video, miguel cabrera triple crown highlights, miguel cabrera rotoworld