I believe that Miguel Cabrera is one of the finest hitters in baseball.
When all is said and done, the Detroit Tigers' slugger will go down one of the best offensive players of this generation.
Having said that, when Cabrera broke in with the Marlins in 2003, he was 6'2" and weighed 185 pounds. Some eight years on from that World Series-winning debut season, Miguel is tipping the scales at 240 pounds (according to ESPN), but looks closer to 250 or 260.
Cabrera has grown two inches during this period, but his weight gain of between 55-80 pounds is far too great for a player that The Tigers have invested so much money in with the express desire that he be the face of the franchise.
We've already seen what excess weight can do to a player. Pablo Sandoval, of San Francisco Giants fame, had to force himself upon a diet in order to drop pounds. He simply wasn't the same dynamic player when he was overweight.
It does not upset me when Miguel Cabrera drinks or stays out all night partying, so long as it does not affect his play on a daily basis.
In 2009, his all-night drinking did lead to poor play against the Chicago White Sox during the pennant race, but with two fantastically productive seasons in a row, those antics were largely forgiven.
What concerns me is Miguel's increasing flabby frame and its negative effect on the Tigers. You can run off a hangover in a matter of minutes. Those excess pounds take a lot longer to shirk.
Miguel had an amazing season at the plate, so it's obvious that his pudgy figure is not hurting him in a batting sense.
However, it does hurt the team in other ways. In many cases, Cabrera is unable to get to second base on hits that should be doubles. In 2011, Miguel hit 47 doubles—just think if he could actually run. He would have had 60.
Cabrera is not expected to steal bases, so the fact that he only managed to steal two this season should not be held against him. His speed is becoming more of an issue, as was obvious in Game 4 of the ALCS against the Texas Rangers.
During that crucial fixture, Miguel failed to score on a deep—(very deep)—fly ball that would have given the Tigers the lead. Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz made a great throw to record the out, but if Cabrera could move with any speed at all then it wouldn't have even been close. Lately, Miguel has begun to look something like a Latino Babe Ruth. Their body types are becoming more similar with each passing year.
The frustrating part about Cabrera's body change is that it doesn't serve any purpose. He is not hitting with any more power than when he was when he tipped the scales at a svelte 180. His fielding, while it is improving, is still a liability—his mobility can't be helped by his bulging waistline.
I regard Cabrera is the one of the best hitters in the game, and I love what he's done for the Detroit Tigers.
But I do believe that if his weight is not monitored, then it could become a concern. The Detroit Tigers need to make sure that their $100 million investment does not go to waste. Cabrera is an unbelievable hitter, who could benefit from a slight weight loss.