Miguel Cabrera, a star representing both Team Venezuela and the Detroit Tigers, is likely to miss the remainder of the World Baseball Classic (WBC) amid back issues, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today. The Tigers see the move as precautionary and they still expect Cabrera to be ready for Opening Day.
His back tightened up on him while playing first base during Thursday’s game against the Dominican Republic. Though he is expected to be ready to begin the season, he is turning 34 years old in April, and this injury should be taken into consideration by fantasy owners, despite being just a minor injury.
Then again, he is still Miguel Cabrera. The same guy who has batted under .313 once since 2014. He should be fine. While fantasy owners should keep note of the injury, Cabrera has not let any injury truly affect his play in his career. He may not be in his prime anymore but he is still worth drafting with little hesitation in the second round of fantasy drafts as long as he is in the middle of the Tigers lineup.
Detroit will take it easy with Cabrera, allowing him to get plenty of rest leading up to Opening Day, especially because J.D. Martinez may start the season on the disabled list. Cabrera is one of the greatest hitters to ever play the game of baseball. The Tigers will not lose sleep wondering if he is ready for the season due to a lack of at-bats prior to the first game of the season.
Cabrera has always been relied on to be the Tiger’s biggest run producer since he signed with the team back in 2008. However, his team has not been to the playoffs since 2014 and Martinez takes a lot of offense away from the Tigers lineup. In light of the adversity, Cabrera will be have more pressure to produce.
If Cabrera were to miss time at the beginning of the season, Victor Martinez has the most experience playing first base. However, now in his late-30’s, he has only started 15 games at first base in the past two seasons. The team may be more inclined to look to a younger option, such as Dominic Ficociello or Andrew Romine, in order to keep Martinez in his DH role in the event of a Cabrera injury.
However, Cabrera should be just fine.