Archive for the ‘Miguel Cabrera’ Category

MLB: Spring Training-Detroit Tigers at St. Louis Cardinals

The game of baseball is so overflowing with cash right now, the owners need to hand some over to the players at some point, right? If you can’t give a record-setting contract to Miguel Cabrera, then who can you pay? If a two-time MVP and former Triple Crown winner isn’t worth the risk, who is?

Isolated case as this might be, there are limits to everything. Even a team and owner as rich as Mike Illitch and the Tigers have their limits. At some point, paying to ensure one of the greatest players in team history never leaves comes at a real cost.

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MLB: San Francisco Giants at Colorado Rockies

Free agency as we know it is dead. Let us all gather ’round its desiccating corpse and offer prayers to the Angel of Arbitration – wishing for health, prosperity, and draft day magic. The top free agents due to test the market are..[scans charts and clipboards] two bat boys and a retired bullpen catcher. Those are the only people in baseball not currently signed to long, option-heavy contracts.

That isn’t entirely true. The free agent class of 2014 isn’t totally bereft. Why your team could be lucky enough to sign…Colby Rasmus. Or, the very good Chase Headley. A few pitchers like Max Scherzer or James Shields catch the eye but it at the plate the pickings are slim.

Except for one decidedly non-slim option. Pablo Sandoval is scheduled to become a free agent at the end of the season. Like the other top position players, injuries robbed the Panda of some effectiveness in recent years. But he remains the player most clubs will monitor during the 2014 season for all he’s accomplished and all the promise in his perplexing package.

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MLB: Detroit Tigers-Workout

The Detroit Tigers are a great baseball team. They were last year, they were in 2012, and they were in 2011. The Tigers reached the American League championship series in each of these years, advancing to the World Series in 2012 only to be swept by the San Francisco Giants.

The Tigers have been a great team over the last few years because they have great players – lots of them. Their best player emerged from an infamous battle with alcoholism and their best pitcher hit his peak with gusto. The team did a great job supporting Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander with more talent, taking on salary and acquiring the likes of Prince Fielder, Victor Martinez, Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez, and Torii Hunter, to name a few.

The Tigers begin their 2014 campaign with a slightly different look. Gone is Jim Leyland, the grizzled face of the team who also oversaw three 90 wins seasons in his 8 year tenure. Former player Brad Ausmus is the new bench boss and he inherits a job that is both incredibly difficult and easy at the same time.

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MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Los Angeles Angels

If talk is cheap, Spring Training workout talk is “wheelbarrow full of devalued currency” worthless. Everybody is in the best shape of their life, everybody is primed for a big season, everybody is ready to leave last year in the past.

When it’s Mike Trout who starts making noise about improving over 2013 and being in the best shape of his life, people tend to notice. In a pre-camp State of the Franchise address with Angels media, Trout expressed a desire to bring his stolen base totals up after swiping a mere 33 bags in 2013.

Stolen bases aside, the question of Mike Trout’s future performance is a very interesting one. Specifically: how much better can he get? And on the flip side of that question, what would it look like if he got worse?

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Chicago White Sox v Detroit Tigers

The Miami Marlins are not going to trade Giancarlo Stanton this winter. The Miami Marlins are going to build their franchise around Giancarlo Stanton.

This is the official party line of the Miami Marlins. Which is to say, it should be taken with grains of salt and no small amount of flippant disdain. The Marlins are not to be trusted. Not now and not ever.

This Stanton situation is very reminiscent of the Miguel Cabrera Marlins situation after the 2007 season. Miguel Cabrera won a very significant arbitration reward on his first trip though the process, setting himself up for very significant paydays down the road.

The grown cost of being in the Miggy business mixed with growing questions about his makeup prompted the Marlins to shop Cabrera, eventually settling on a blockbuster package with the Detroit Tigers.

But the Tigers weren’t the only team bidding on the services of the eventual AL MVP. Many other teams threw their hats into the ring. We can look back today to remind ourselves of the volatile nature of prospects. Hopefully your favorite teams heeds this is a warning.

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New York Yankees v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

One easy, fall-back buzzword you hear baseball broadcasters drone on and on about is “consistency.” They want players to be consistent. The players themselves, they also seek consistency. Everybody wants to be consistent.

It is difficult to parse what it actually means, however. It doesn’t seem offside to assume for nearly all parties invovled — fans included — that “consistency” means “successful all the time.” Being good often and you are thought of as consistent. Problem solved!

The real world of baseball doesn’t work like this. Your average Major Leaguer’s swing is a miracle of physical dynamics, with a million moving parts requiring pinpoint timing across hundreds of plate appearances and six long months of physical punishment and laborious travel.

Because of that punishment, it is hard to be consistent. Because of the incredibly difficult task that is hitting major league-quality pitching, it is very hard to be consistent and productive over the span of a season.

The two best players in baseball have accomplished something very impressive this season. Both Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera have one specific thing in common this year – an uncommon consistency.

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New York Yankees v Detroit Tigers - Game 3

Miguel Cabrera blasted his 42nd home run of 2013 off Mets starter Dillon Gee on Sunday. He took a high and inside fastball — significantly off the plate — and deposited it well behind Citi Field’s left field fence.

That this is no longer an event worthy of any surprise says more about Cabrera’s season than any statistic can. Cabrera’s hitting ability — from power to patience and back again — has improved to the point where even Triple Crown Winner 2012 Miguel Cabrera looks like a chump.

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