The Detroit Tigers will be without their most valuable player as Miguel Cabrera will be out of action for six weeks or more with a calf strain. That’s at least half of the remainder of the 2015 season, assuming Cabrera returns on schedule. When he does come back, the Tigers still lack any decent hitters on their bench, particularly left-handed hitters.
Detroit picked up first baseman Marc Krauss off waivers from the Tampa Bay Rays. Although he homered in his first at-bat last night, Krauss is batting .192/.264/.339 in 406 career major league plate appearances. To his credit, he has some impressive minor league numbers. Detroit is his fifth team in the last calendar year, and the Tigers don't necessarily want to pin their pennant hopes on his shoulders. The Tigers have also called up Jefry Marte, a third baseman from Toledo who made his major league debut last weekend.
Let's face it: there is no replacement for Miguel Cabrera.
However, the Tigers can do better. Here is a look at some first basemen who may be available at the trade deadline.
Adam Lind, Milwaukee Brewers
The 31-year-old slugger is a former outfielder who is having yet another fine season in a row at the plate. Over the past three years, Lind has hit .299 with 43 home runs and 158 RBI in 1.151 plate appearances. He has a wOBA of .387 and a wRC+ of 146 this season. He earns $7.5 million in 2015, with a club option for $8 million in 2016. He could fill the void at first base while Cabrera is out, provide some pop off the bench for the remainder of the season, and could be a valuable trade chip in the winter. The Brewers traded pitcher Marco Estrada to Toronto in November to acquire Lind.
Adam LaRoche, Chicago White Sox
Chicago signed LaRoche to a two year, $25 million contract this past winter, so he has a year and a half remaining. He has not lived up to expectations at the plate, hitting just .225/.331/.380 with nine home runs and 31 RBI. LaRoche is being used mainly as a designated hitter this season. He is a capable first baseman, but the Sox have Jose Abreu there most games. LaRoche has a career 10.4 percent walk rate and has plenty of power, with nine seasons of 20 homers or more in his career.
Logan Morrison, Seattle Mariners
After signing with Seattle on a one-year contract for $2.7 million for 2015, Lo Mo will have another season of arbitration eligibility before being eligible for free agency. His 23 home runs with the Marlins in 2011 got folks excited, but Morrison has been inconsistent at the plate ever since, never hitting more than 11 homers (his total this season) and never making more than 365 plate appearances in a season. He has played outfield as recently as 2014, but has been strictly a first baseman this season.
Mike Napoli, Boston Red Sox
The former Angels catcher will be a free agent at the end of this season, and he seems quite happy in Boston, but if the team doesn't continue to close the gap in their division, they might be tempted to sell assets and restock for 2016. At 33, Napoli is having an abysmal season at the plate, hitting .192/.294/.358. However, he still has power and can draw a walk, and a change of scenery might be enough to wake him up. He is in the second year of a two-year deal that pays him $16 million per season, and will be a free agent in the winter.
Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies
While the Phillies would love to unload Howard and his $25 million per year contract, the Tigers should just say no. The former MVP has not even been a replacement-level player over the past three years, hitting .232 while belting an average of 16 home runs and a wRC+ of 97. He wouldn't be free, but the Phillies are apparently willing to eat almost all of his bloated contract. Just say no.
The options are limited for the Tigers, but standing pat at first base is not one of them if the club is serious about making the playoffs this season.