July 11th, 2017
Note to Miguel Cabrera: Do more
than just whine about trade rumors
By KEITH GAVE
So the Detroit Tigers $248-million-dollar man, Miguel Cabrera, has the big pout on amid all these nasty trade rumors involving several of his teammates.
“I don’t like to come here every day and hear about how they are going to trade this guy and trade that guy,” he told the Detroit Free Press. “We’re human man. We think. We feel. We feel everything. It’s hard when you hear that every day.”
Awww. Can we muster up a little sympathy for the big guy and his teammates? At least get out the little thumb and forefinger violins and play them a comforting lullaby?
I didn’t think so.
Here’s a thought, Miggy: Do your damned job better and there’s a good chance you wouldn’t have to spend your All-Star break being dogged with all those incessant rumors – which are only likely to intensify after a second series loss to the Cleveland Indians in just over a week.
That goes for a lot of your teammates, too. Most of them. Sadly, it’s the few who have enjoyed good seasons – J.D. Martinez, Alex Avila and Justin Wilson – who find their names tossed around more than anyone else’s. Oh, and Justin Verlander, who has been mediocre at best in an inconsistent summer. But he’d be more of a salary dump than anything else as the club tries to pare one of the highest salaries in major league baseball.
That includes Cabrera’s $28 million for this season, in which Cabrera is hitting a paltry .264 – 55 points below his career average. He’s on pace to hit 22 home runs – 10 below his career average, and drive in just 82 runs, 29 below his career average.
At 34, and with his big body clearly showing signs of breaking down, Cabrera is on the books for another six years, at least, at a cost to the club of $200 million. For those keeping score at home and willing to do the math, Cabrera is being paid – we did not say earning – more than $48,000 per at bat, or more than double the median household income in the City of Detroit.
In other words, because of the monstrous number of zeroes in his remaining contract, one of the best hitters in the history of the game and a certain Hall of Famer is, essentially, an untradeable player. He needs to produce more, and we’re not just talking about the numbers he sees when he steps on the bathroom scale.
Here’s a thought, Miggy: Eat a salad once in a while. Ask one of those teammates you’re so concerned about for directions to the clubhouse weight room. Try and work up a sweat now and then, because you certainly don’t get one running out an infield ground ball.
Take better care of that body. Please. We’re going to need it around here, producing better than it has this season, for many years to come.
This kind of whining is pathetic, and it’s not exclusive to Detroit. In Miami, where the Marlins are having a fire sale for a much different reason – to clear the books and make it easier to sell the team – slugger Giancarlo Stanton is beside himself with emotion. A literal basket case of raw nerves.
“I can’t control the rumors,” Stanton, the favorite to win tonight’s home-run derby on the eve of the MLB All-Star Game, told USA Today last week. “But it’s tough. There’s only so much you can go through. It’s not normal. . . .”
Newsflash: This is normal in the big leagues. MLB has a July 31 trade deadline. Teams must figure out what they need to do to pay the bills, which includes exorbitant salaries, and at the same time justify the product on the field. And when you’re 27 years old and have $295 million remaining on your deal, as Stanton does, you don’t get to whine like that. At least not without someone calling you on it.
After all, it’s a business, right? Isn’t that what we hear all the time when players we fall in love with (read Max Scherzer) leave for bigger pots of gold in other baseball towns? It hurts, but we don’t blame them.
Trades are a big part of your business, you bunch of pathetic whiners. And rumors – the gossip that almost always precedes them – are part of what keeps the media and fans interested enough to tune in, buy a ticket to a game or shell out a small fortune to buy a jersey with your name on it to wear around.
Suck it up and play. It’s what you signed on to do until you can’t do it anymore. And in Miguel Cabrera’s case, we can only hope that happens later rather than sooner because his contract alone has the potential to set the Tigers’ rebuilding plans back a good decade or so.