Detroit Tigers first basemen Miguel Cabrera has been looking as healthy as ever this Spring Training and the Detroit Tigers hope he can stay that way in 2014.
Last year, Cabrera was limited to 148 games due to injury. Throughout the majority of the year, Cabrera dealt with a hip and groin injury that nagged him during games, forcing him to exit early. Even with the injury, Cabrera was able to win the American League MVP title for a second consecutive year after winning the Triple Crown the previous year. In 2014 though, the Tigers are going to need him more than ever.
After trading away first baseman and big bat Prince Fielder, Cabrera’s numbers, may most likely drop due to the increase of intentional walks he may face in the upcoming season. With having Fielder in the lineup, pitchers had to pick their poison. Do they throw to Cabrera, who is probably the best hitter in the game, or do they walk Cabrera and throw to Fielder, who has the chance of a hitting a home run with Miguel on first? With this scenario gone in Detroit, look for pitchers to walk Cabrera more than usual in 2014.
But with Cabrera being completely healthy to start the season, the Tigers will need every bit of his bat if they want to make it to the World Series. While losing a power hitter like Fielder did free up some money for the Tigers to spend on a revamped bullpen. They added Joba Chamberlain and Joe Nathan, re-signed starting pitcher and Cy Young winner Max Scherzer, and added a smaller bat in second basemen Ian Kinsler. This may decrease run production in the Motor City.
Nonetheless, Cabrera will be asked to carry the load and try to lead the Tigers as best as he can. Even if the Tigers have loaded up the bullpen, questions will arise whether or not they can pitch up to their full potential and hold the leads that are built from great starting pitching and scoring runs when they can.
The amount of pressure on Cabrera stems from the fact that he was able to put up MVP type numbers while dealing with multiple injuries throughout the course of the past season. With all the pressure that rests on Cabrera’s shoulders, let’s hope he won’t have to get back surgery for carrying the team so much in 2014.