What Cabrera’s surgery means for Tigers

The Tigers had been preparing themselves for the likelihood that Miguel Cabrera would need surgery to remove bone spurs in his right ankle, which would take out a chunk of his offseason workouts. They were not expecting that an exam would reveal a stress fracture in his right foot, too.

“It was a surprise, I’d say, for all of us at that point,” team president/general manager Dombrowski said Friday morning. “We were not aware it was there. I’m not sure how long it was there. He did have a couple of screws inserted.”

It’s the navicular bone at the top of his foot, and according to research online, it’s not rare among athletes, and there’s a history of it with basketball players. Joel Embiid, the highly-touted center out of Kansas, slid in the NBA Draft this offseason reportedly because of a navicular fracture. Michael Jordan, Kevin McHale, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Yao Ming all had navicular fractures in their careers, with Ming’s situation serving as a worst-case scenario.

The injury is less common in baseball. Dustin Pedroia had a nondisplaced navicular fracture in midseason 2010, tried to rehab it and avoid surgery, underwent the procedure, played the 2011 season with a screw in his foot and has been fine with the foot since. Cody Ross had a similar injury that did not require surgery, and ended up missing a month. Jacoby Ellsbury had a compression fracture of the bone in 2013, rested for a few weeks and played in the postseason.

In Cabrera’s case, it was severe enough that rest-and-rehab wasn’t an option.

Cabrera is built more like an undersized forward than a center, and he has taken steps to watch his weight the last few years. For the vast majority of athletes, this is a surgery that shouldn’t present long-term issues. However, it’s also an injury that deals with pressure on the foot.

Recovery seems relatively safe. Cabrera’s offseason workout plans, however, appear to be scratched for the second straight year. He might be able to do upper-body workouts, but he’s expected to keep weight off his surgically repaired foot. Thus, even if Cabrera checks out fine during his follow-up exam in January, he’s going to have some catching up to do to get back to where he wants and expects.

The injury, meanwhile, leaves the Tigers with some immediate concerns:

1. The Tigers have to be prepared at first base, under any scenario, when the season starts.

Detroit is familiar with this scenario from this past summer, when manager Brad Ausmus was juggling Cabrera and Victor Martinez at first base according to whether Cabrera felt strong enough to play in the field. Ausmus did not want to play Martinez every day at first base for fear of tweaking an injury with him.

Detroit’s other first base option this season was Don Kelly. J.D. Martinez played a couple minor league games at first base in 2009 and hasn’t played there since. Mike Hessman’s prodigious minor-league power is legendary, but he hasn’t hit above .250 since 2010. Jordan Lennerton went from Futures Game participant in 2013 to a .249 hitter at Toledo this season, though he batted .333 from June 23 on. Aaron Westlake batted .236 at Double-A Erie this season. It would behoove the Tigers to have a plan at first base in case Cabrera needs more time or has to DH.

2. The Victor Martinez talks just got trickier.

The recent buzz that Martinez is looking for a four-year contract on the upcoming free-agent market, as Jon Heyman reported today for CBSSports.com, potentially puts the Tigers in a bind. On one hand, if Cabrera isn’t ready for Opening Day, or even if he’s playing while his foot and ankle regain strength, getting production out of somebody else is huge, just as Martinez’s early-season production was for them this season. On the other hand, a four-year deal for Martinez puts him under contract through his age 39 season, and puts the Tigers at risk for a bad situation in a few years if injuries leave Cabrera better suited for DH work as he approaches his mid-30s, let alone if Cabrera is deemed better off DHing a little more often next year.

If Cabrera is slowed, it’s hard to see how the Tigers lineup works next season without Martinez. And yet, if Cabrera is slowing, it’s hard to see how the Tigers can succeed long-term with him and Martinez. There are other DH options headed for the market, from Billy Butler to Kendrys Morales, but the only free-agent hitter in the same neighborhood is Nelson Cruz.

And no, the free-agent market for first basemen isn’t better than the market for DHs. Adam LaRoche could hit the market if either he or the Nationals decline the $15 million mutual option in his contract, but there’s a question too of how many years he’ll want in a new deal at age 35. Mike Morse has played first base off and on during his career. Adam Lind is a potential trade candidate, according to the Toronto Sun, but he does not hit lefties well.


Victor is irreplaceable in that it would take several players to make up for his absence in the lineup. Hunter played two years here at age 38 and 39. I don’t really see Miggy as ever being a DH.

I agree Rich

I was going to add that we may be looking at a .500 team before I remembered we just had one, other than the first six weeks or so of the season.

Just tossing this out there on Joe Maddon: Mike Scioscia retires and Maddon replaces him. Yes, I’m offering a completely baseless scenario.

Who is responsible for Not having an MRI done and finding this stress fracture of the navicular bone?
Get well soon Miggy.

They could not tell by the MRI. They found out once they got in there from how I read an article…

They may have to go in a different direction. 4 years of Victor would be OK if we didn’t have Juntin & Miggy’s ridiculous contracts.


Why not? Tigers made money last year.

I wonder if Ichiro is going to Seattle? He’s 40, but can still play.

Just thinking the other day about all the front office moves recently. Can’t remember any other year quite like it.

Justin Morneau is signed for one year, mutual option for 9 MM. I guess Miguel would be off as DH for the whole 2015.
For the right price, every player is available

Hesman in Venezuela. out of the roster this week( roster changes every week):125 .222 .125 .347, I have only watched him once, same old: chasing bad pitches

Miguel will probably have to use crutches for weeks. He’s not gonna like that,

could you sign rios to a 1 yr contract to offset miggy’s likely bad season? no victor for 4 years – please – he’ll need a hoverround to circle the bases by this last year.

I’ll buy the hoverround if he produces the same way he did in 2015. Rios is the polar opposite of VMart in terms of leadership and competitiveness. I’d rather have DOn Kelly full time than Rios. And Rios can’t stand in VMart’s shadow in terms of worth on a ball field.

I’m thinking the same person on the Tigers’ crack medical staff was responsible for Miggy’s ankle that was responsible for Iglesias’ shins.

What are you suggesting gjdodger2? Our medical staff is incompetent?
Avila’s neurologist.

Welcome to the blog newcommers! Victor has become the leader on this team, not Miguel. You must sign him. Miguel should be on a strict diet. I have always liked Dirks so I hope he makes a great showing in the Spring. Does it seems like any bulpen is just 1 pitch away from good or bad? Get well soon Miggy.

In regard to this “ankle spur” business, that never really did make much sense to me and I remember complaining about the terminology being used. The club cites patient privacy when explanations are sought, so we don’t know if there were radiographic images performed or not. I’d certainly hope they were. It sounds like the doctor may have missed one.
If the stress fracture would have been discovered earlier, MIggy’s season may have ended earlier, so there’s that to consider.

In the end, they need a 1B that can play OF or 3B or catcher once Miguel is back

Donny Kelly!

A real baseball player, not one who was DFA and 29 teams passed on thanks to his 232/.632 and his career WAR of 0.3

is this real baseball player going to be a starter or a bench player? got any ideas?

Some, Howie Kendicks. Or Mourneau if Miguel will be the DH season long.La Roche mentioned by Jason in the same situation since that would mean Victor is out .

And the one I mentioned before, Evan Gattis

mmm lemme chew on that…thanks

WP: “one of Jordan Zimmermann, bedrock shortstop Ian Desmond and right-hander Doug Fister “could be traded.
Hammel too according to Bowen
There will be more pitchers in the market than expected.

there’s a gooood baseball game on tonight!

Jeff Sullivan_
“before this game, Royals relievers had allowed fewer earned runs in the playoffs in 48.2 innings than Tigers relievers allowed in 4.2”

Of course, another one who forgets the IRS

Signing Victor is a must…..

signing victor will be a noose around our necks in 3 years, come on! Defense and pitching!

gosh in 4 years i don’t think he’ll be able to run teh bases

Disagree. VMart has hit consistently throughout his career and being a DH will extend his value. I can see 3 productive years easily, maybe even 4. Do not underestimate what he accomplished last year, it was pretty amazing.

And stop with the accounting worries, this team made money and has a billionaire owner that likes superstars. And VMart is a super star. The money for him is a much safer bet than someone like Colby Rasmus or Justin Morneau or even Evan Gattis.

3 years? guess based on some words during an interview. 4 years ?, just baseless speculation ( Like the Ilitch selling the organization rumor). The last thing he said, back in July.. . Tigers had not approach him back then.
The QO would reduce his market to CWS, Twins and Texas.

Heyman’s sources lie? “Tigers star designated hitter Victor Martinez will try to capitalize on a monster season with a four-year deal as a free agent, according to sources.” http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/writer/jon-heyman/24766690/v-mart-coming-off-monster-season-will-shoot-for-a-four-year-deal

He has been wrong before

that’s fair

He has the cards to play, makes sense he is trying to get 4 years.

I think the last thing Victor said was “they know……they know……we’ll see what happens.” After the ALDS ended. I took that to mean he’s made clear what he’s looking for.
Personally, I’d just as soon keep the best DH in the game plus one of the best leaders and not worry about 3-4 years down the road.

Tough call. Given his age, his mobility, and his versatility (in all respects it could be termed “lack thereof”.
If Victor wants 4 years then there should be some perfromance factors built in and the salary would have to be team friendly.
There is only on other player on this team that is more valuable than Vic.

The problem with Victor is he only does one thing – hit. his baserunning is the slowest i’ve ever seen, his defense at 1b is lacking. He earned a 2.5 WAR in 2011, 0.9 in 2013 and 4.4 in 2014. Next year Steamer predicts 3.3. He’s isn’t hitting 30 dingers next year, fellas! I’m sorry, but the org’s future payroll flexibility is more important than who hits behind Miggy in 2015. Not to mention – Miggy may have to play DH substantially in 2015.

My preference is two years guaranteed with one plus one years with last two of the four years vesting based on plate appearances / performance targets being achieved. Would consider three plus one year incentive contract and pass on four years without any carrots dangling.

He played good defense at 1B in 2013. Not that good in 2014.Ortiz is making 16 MM /year and he is 39 YO.Victor does not have Ortiz ´ career numbers but he is younger.
Projected WAR 3.0, that is 19.5 MM .
The fourth, hypothetical ,year, coincides with the option year of Kinsler and Sanchez. The latter´s option wont be picked for sure , they have too many IF in the system blocked . Neither Anibal´s if his health remain in question. If they remains with the team by then, he and Anibal are the most likely to be traded players in the roster. They are not Lee and Howard, they could be reasonable trade chip
They payroll for 2018 includes 30 MM for Cabrera,28 for Verlander , 6 for Fielder and 5 for each buyout for the Kinsler and Sanchez
No way the Tigers give him a guaranteed 4th year, probably a vesting option.

BTW: they gave 214 to an unidimensional player, now sitting with neck injury.He was worse running and fielding.45/3 is a far cry from that

Victor is not just a hitter. He is a clutch hitter. He is also as close to a leader on a team that needs one. He is a stressful at bat for any pitcher. He supplies power and that may be a result of him understanding that homers obviate base running demands.
It would be a coup for Dombrowski t o get a 2 year deal. Any longer than that and you run the risk of having two Steve Bilkos on the team, three if Avila sticks around.

not just a hitter….just a clutch hitter lol. how do you know about his leadership skills? His power will regress look at this career fly:HR ratio and then this past years.
obviously a 2 year deal would be amazing. a 2 year deal with a 3rd (or 4th) year team option – or performance-based triggering – would be acceptable. But honestly, at some point, what keeps a team from being good is being too short sighted.

Short sighted about money or about performace?

You don’t think he is a clutch hitter? Tell me who was better last year? I do agree that the power numbers will decrease.

And no one on this forum know about his leadership skills first hand, but all reports from beat writers and TIgers point to VMart as being a leader.

hey port! So I think it’d be short-sighted to sign VMart because it helps you for 2015, but will likely hurt you by 2017 (and thus 2018). Not only will that, but indirectly I think it hurts Miggy by forcing him to play 1B more often than he should. I want money going towards pitching, defense and playing time going to developing players instead of what you’ll have in the 2nd half of Vmart’s contract.

with that said, i think they’ll give vmart what he wants and more.

The short sighted question expanded means: do you over pay for a players that has performed at an All Star level recently (all with the problem that the last 2 years of the contract could be expensive and the player won’t be around) or short sighted by signing players on the cheap that have never been at an All Star level.

I say Victor is worth the risk. Much more than Scherzer at this point. Victor I am more confident will contribute in 3 years than Scherzer being healthy in 3 years. Also, Miggy at 1B for 3 or 4 years is not an issue.

Sad about Oscar Tavaras and the friend who was with him.

terrible news.

Bad day. 1980s Tiger pitcher Jeff Robinson died today at 52. Saw him pitch twice in 1988 and always thought of him as The Kid.

Bumbgarner just shut the Royals down last night. I thought it was a good game.

“My career is there,” he said. “My numbers are there. So you can judge it.”
According to Castrovince is about the years not the money


I still confident that the answer is Detroit.

“Moya, the Tigers’ No. 7 prospect , went 3-for-4 with two home runs and three RBIs. He is hitting .321/.362/.585 with three home runs this fall.”

Moya was also named to the Arizona Fall League All-Star game, which is great. AFL is a spring board to the MLB, and fileld with top prospects. His performace this fall is very encouraging.

Looks like Moya will start the year in AAA?

I think the odds are very good that he starts in Toledo.

Adam Lind is a potential trade candidate, according to the Toronto Sun, but he does not hit lefties well.
Chances of #BlueJays parting with Adam Lind have increased, now that they’ve acquired Justin Smoak from #Mariners on waivers

INTERESTING: Lind would be an improvement at 1B over Vmart, defensively. I want to say Lind is a team option though (with a 1M buyout)…. And a 2016 team option too….. His base running is substantially better…. At less than half the cost of Vmart.

hell you could pay Lind and Torii both for Vmart’s price. If Cabby doesn’t play until the ASB – you might have to!

“but he does not hit lefties well.”He would be a stop gag until Cabrera is ready

yeah that’s a good point he won’t help against lefties.

While the 2014 tigers hit LHP better than RHP…. losing both Vmart and Torii would really hurt our ability to hit LHP – Lind wouldn’t offset that.

Has there been a time frame regarding Miggy?

I heard 3 months no activity. That will make it tough to be ready for opening day. Guess time will tell.

Miggy’s injury leads to many things that need to be discussed this off season. I have to agree Tigers losing Vmart would be a massive blow. However, so would be having 2 guys on the team making big bucks and can only play DH and a little 1st. Would it be smarter for Tigers to sign Hunter on a 1 year contract and get a draft pick from Vmart? Maybe. The cost will be a lot less and Hunter could be signed on short term contract. Vmart had an injury that cost him to miss an entire year out of his last 4 year contract. What is to say that would not happen again if not worse? If Tigers Could sign Vmart to a 2 year deal with an option in there for a third… that would be ideal. However, it looks like he is going to push for 4 years. We also know he would probably get paid even better on the open market. Tigers need to look at all avenues and make sure it makes sense now and into the future.

What about MIchael Cuddyer if Vmart falls through? Sounds like he would not take a draft pick… could sign him to a 2 year contract and would be more affordable over Vmart. Sounds like defensively he is below average… but I am sure he would still be better than someone like Fielder.

Michael would be a defensive upgrade at 1st over Vmart, but downgrade from Miggy. Def. downgrade in RF and 3B if you had to for a handful of innings over the season. He’d be a speed upgrade over Vmart. Cost less, less years. Sounds good to me.

With Victor you go for three years and any variation of options/clauses on the 4th year, if not the 3rd.
Soon as these two clubs finish their private WS tonight, we can get into more facts. QO’s are due by Monday at 5 PM.

Still think 3 years is too long for our beloved Vic. 2–tops. That helps to work things out for Miggy either staying or going.
Is there a plausible chance to trade Nathan? Go for the other 40 year old Uehara.
Nahtan will never, ever pitch well enough to win over the fans and he will just be an ongoing bone of contention to chew on.
Miller or Chapman are a must.

interesting suggestion to trade for Chapman…he does only have 1 year left. Wonder what they’d need. Robbie Ray?

Don’t think Chapman is available. Miller is going to ask for a lot of money.

And Joe Nathan will be a Tiger in 2015. Hopefully a more effective Nathan, and used like a 40 year old (do not use back to back, etc.)

Yeah. I can foresee a scenario where it starts out Nathan/Soria 1A &1B and if Joe struggles, Rondon comes along midseason to take the 8th inning. The Tigers desperately need to find some relievers internally if they haven’t traded them all away yet.

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