A top-10 overall fantasy earner in 2016, Miguel Cabrera finished outside of the top 300 last season, barely earning positive value in 130 games. His strikeout and walk rates both went in the wrong direction (20.8 percent and 10.2 percent, respectively), but even so it's difficult to fathom a 67-point drop in batting average, 64-point drop in OBP and 86-point drop in wOBA. Complicating matters is the now widely accepted belief that the hard-hit data and exit velocity numbers coming out of Comerica Park were warped due to "hot" technology; it's unwise to put much stock into Cabrera's hard-hit or barrel rates or any of the expected numbers from Statcast. What we know is that Cabrera was dealing with two herniated disks in his back last season. Assuming he's healthier after a full offseason of rest and rehabilitation -- he did not have surgery in the offseason -- Cabrera seems likely to bounce back, but to what extent is a real question for a player nearing his 35th birthday.
Cabrera arrived at the Tigers' spring-training facility Sunday and said he feels healthy after focusing his offseason workouts on strengthening his core and back muscles, Jason Beck of MLB.com reports. Injuries to the two muscle groups not only played a role in limiting Cabrera to 130 games last season, but more significantly, they hampered him greatly at the plate. While playing with two herniated discs in his back in 2017, Cabrera struggled to a .249/.329/.399 slash line in 529 plate appearances, amounting to a 228-point drop in OPS from the season prior. It's likely that some of the 34-year-old's performance dip was also a byproduct of aging, but with a modicum of better health entering the upcoming season, Cabrera seems capable of bouncing back on some level, though to what extent is difficult to predict.
Cabrera (back) is out of the lineup Sunday against the Twins. With the Tigers out of playoff contention, there's no reason for them to jeopardize Cabrera's health in Sunday's season finale. Efren Navarro will start at first base and hit fifth while Cabrera's disappointing season comes to an end. Over 130 games, he hit 16 home runs, registered 60 RBI and posted a .249 batting average and .728 OPS. This marked the first time since 2008 that Cabrera owned a batting average below .300, and his 60 RBI were the fewest of his career.
Cabrera (back) is out of the lineup Saturday against the Twins. He will miss his sixth straight game with a back issue, and at this point it would be surprising if the Tigers brought Cabrera back for the season finale Sunday. Efren Navarro will start at first base and hit cleanup.
Cabrera (back) remains out of the lineup Friday. Cabrera has not played since tweaking his back last weekend, and he will not start Friday for the fifth straight game. Cabrera has not officially been shut down for the season, but with just two games to go after Friday's, it would not be surprising if that ultimately happens.
Cabrera (back) is out of the lineup for Thursday's game against the Royals. Cabrera will miss a fourth straight game following his removal from Saturday's contest with a back injury, which wound up being revealed as a pair of herniated discs. There has been no word on his status, so he will remain day-to-day for the time being while John Hicks draws the start in his stead.