Now that the Detroit Tigers have locked up future hall-of-famer Miguel Cabrera through age forty we are hearing a lot of backlash against the contract. The criticism is fair and relevant but I want to peek at the upside.
In the past six decades I found a dozen productive power hitters at age 40 or older. One occurred just last year in Seattle. Raul Ibanez hit 29 home runs at age 41. This just happened!
Will Miguel Cabrera be a better hitter at age 40 than Raul Ibanez? If so, then this deal doesn’t look that bad.
The worst of this lot was Ibanez and he went for 20 doubles, 29 HR’s and 123 OPS+ at age 41. I think the Tigers would be pleased if Miggy had an Ibanez-like year in 2023.
Justin Verlander would probably not have gotten the “Loss” last night if Miguel Cabrera didn’t go 0-for-4 with 2 strikeouts. Detroit Tigers pitchers have no responsibility for their team’s lineup. Verlander doesn’t influence Cabrera’s batting performance against Red Sox pitchers.
Verlander pitched great against Red Sox batters and John Lackey pitched great against Tigers batters. The two pitchers did not face each other.
Boston Red Sox fielders were 5th best in the American League at turning batted balls into outs. The Detroit Tigers defense ranked 10th in the AL.
Total Zone Fielding and Baseball Info Solutions Defensive Runs Saved both concur that Boston is an above average fielding squad while the Tigers pretty much stink.
The Tigers biggest problem spots on defense are in right field (Torii Hunter) and at the infield corners (Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera). Certainly Boston hitters like Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia could pile up bloop hits all series long.
Fortunately the Tigers lineup is loaded and their starting rotation is the greatest of the century. Jim Leyland‘s team may beat the Red Sox and advance to the World Series but it won’t be because of their fielding prowess.