The Tigers may have hit a roadblock in extension talks with starter Max Scherzer, so they have turned their attention to first baseman Miguel Cabrera. Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the two sides are open to an extension, but the discussion remains at a preliminary stage. Cabrera moved over to first base after the Tigers traded Prince Fielder to the Rangers during the off-season.
Cabrera, the American League’s back-to-back winner of the MVP award, turns 31 years old on April 18. He’ll earn $22 million in each of the 2014 and ’15 seasons — the last two years of an eight-year, $152.3 million deal signed back in March of 2008 — before becoming eligible for free agency, perhaps his last shot at a big multi-year deal. So, the Tigers will have to pay to keep him around.
Some question Cabrera’s ability to stay healthy and productive well into his 30’s, despite as consistent a track record as one can find. Since becoming a full-time player in 2001, Cabrera has played in at least 148 games and posted an OPS of at least .879. He is clearly on a Hall of Fame trajectory so long as he can continue staying healthy.
Rangers second baseman Jurickson Profar is finally cleared to play defense after missing time with a shoulder injury, but now shortstop Elvis Andrus has been shut down with elbow problems for the second time this month.
Andrus will take at least a few games off and Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram reports that he’ll be examined Friday by team doctors. For now Andrus insists it’s a minor injury, but the Rangers are obviously a little more worried about it.
If it proves to be a significant injury the Rangers could shift Profar to shortstop–which is where he played while coming up through the minors as an elite prospect–but there’s no obvious in-house option to take over at second base unless they really want to rush 20-year-old top prospect Rougned Odor to the big leagues.
Another option could be making a late run at unsigned free agent shortstop Stephen Drew, but it’s probably not worth speculating about that too much until there’s an official word on Andrus’ status. Texas traded longtime second baseman Ian Kinsler to Detroit in the Prince Fielder deal in large part because Andrus is signed long term and Profar was waiting in the wings.
Southpaw Bill Bray, a six-year Major League veteran, announced his retirement via Twitter on Sunday evening.
Bray had expressed intent to continue his career in February, but he says he injured his left shoulder again and will need labrum surgery.
Bray retires with a 3.74 ERA in 197 1/3 innings with the Reds and Nationals. We wish him the best of luck post-baseball.
An interesting Bray factoid from @BRefPlayIndex:
The Mets and Red Sox have been mentioned most often as possible landing spots for free agent shortstop Stephen Drew, but as these situations often go, he might end up in an unexpected place. Peter Gammons brought up an interesting possibility earlier today:
Jose Iglesias is expected to begin the season on the disabled list due to shin splints, so Drew could fill in at shortstop for now. Once Iglesias returns, the Tigers could potentially play Drew at third base and move Alex Castellanos back out to left field as part of a platoon with Rajai Davis while Andy Dirks rehabs from back surgery. I could see it if Igelsias’ injury was really serious, but otherwise, probably not. It’s an interesting scenario to ponder at the very least.
This wouldn’t be the first time that an injury resulted in a Scott Boras client landing with the Tigers. After Victor Martinez suffered a torn ACL in January of 2012, the Tigers gave Prince Fielder a nine-year, $214 million contract. Stay tuned.
Jurickson Profar still hasn’t been cleared to play defense because of a shoulder injury and now the Rangers infielder has another problem to deal with: T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports that he had four wisdom teeth removed today and is expected to be sidelined for 3-5 days.
Profar was already cutting it kind of close in terms of being fully healthy by Opening Day, so this certainly doesn’t help matters. He bounced around the infield as a 20-year-old rookie last season, but Profar is expected to be the Rangers’ primary second baseman following the departure of Ian Kinsler to Detroit in the Prince Fielder trade.
This time last year he was considered by many to be the best prospect in all of baseball, so getting Profar healthy will play a huge role in the Rangers’ season.