Detroit Tigers News

HotStove Misses the Boat with Cabrera Article

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HotStove.com came onto the scene in a big way this past offseason. The work that Tom Reese and Paul Rubillo have put in to make their website relevant is commendable. Together, Tom and Paul host a daily webcast that often features interviews and news and notes covering every team in baseball. Certainly, they have joined into the conversation when talking about the better sites out there for news and rumors.

Like any site that covers every team they way HotStove does, they sometimes use guest contributors to cover a specific team. This morning, I came across a headline on the HotStove twitter feed that caught my attention: The San Fransisco Giants: Why Trading for Miguel Cabrera Would Make Them a World Series Contender.

The author of this post, Andy Bensch, went into detail about how the addition of Cabrera would turn the Giants from also-rans into serious post-season contenders. To that point, I don’t disagree, but Bensch’s logic here seems missing. Not missing something, mind you, just missing.

Bensch proposes that if the Tigers were to fall out of the race by mid-season, they might make Cabrera available, and that the Giants could get him without giving up a single player on their big league roster. In fact, they wouldn’t even have to surrender Buster Posey.

It’s as if Bensch tried this trade on MLB 2K10 and it worked there, so why not write a post about it.

Bensch also says that Cabrera would best fit into the Giants lineup in (gasp) left field. He mentions also that Cabrera could play third base or first if necessary. I know most of you who will read this know what I’m about to say already, but the very idea of using Cabrera, who is actually pretty good at first base, anywhere but at first is a terrible idea, and one the Tigers dismissed two weeks into his tenure in Detroit.

But let’s get back to the heart of the article, shall we?

Bensch’s assumption that Cabrera would be available is laughable. I know the general feeling during the Winter Meetings was that the Tigers must be in financial ruins, why else would they trade away Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson, two young, team-controlled all-stars, for a collection of younger, cheaper players?

What Bensch fails to recognize is that the Tigers are not in dire straits financially. Bensch assumes that the Tigers would make Cabrera available, even though he’s signed through 2015. While Bensch doesn’t say it, I have to guess that he’s thinking the size of Cabrera’s contract would make the Tigers want to trade him.

If the Tigers were in such bad shape money-wise, they would not have signed free agents Johnny Damon and Jose Valverde. They likely would not have extended Justin Verlander a year before they needed to, either. In fact, you could also point to the contracts that were tendered to Gerald Laird and Bobby Seay as evidence of the Tigers wealth.

The Tigers have only $55MM committed to the 2011 payroll, and that’s with Cabrera making $20MM. Mike Ilitch is not hurting for cash, people, and even if he was, financial flexibility is only six months away. Why on earth would he want to jettison a future hall-of-famer still in his prime? He wouldn’t.

You know what, Mr. Bensch? There are a whole list of players who would also make the Giants better. Albert Pujols could probably play left field if you really like Aubrey Huff at first. Joe Mauer is signed for eight more years, maybe the Twins would deal him. What about Mark  Teixeira, or Kevin Youkilis, or Alex Rodriguez? Surely they could help.

Except that none of those players are available, because hitters like those get locked up to long term contracts by financially stable teams. Those players don’t get traded with six seasons left on their deals, unless of course, this is just a video game.

When I read the article’s headline, it reeked of a Bleacher Report posting. Sure enough, I found Mr. Bensch’s B/R profile and discovered his vast expanse of articles posted there. Bleacher Report is a nice place to get your start into sports writing. They have some tools that can help you evolve as a writer. I, myself, wrote several pieces for their site last year, but when a writer is ready to get serious about his craft, he needs to move away from the “Bleacher Report Style” and move into a mature author, one who researches his articles, checks his facts, and presents well thought out opinions. Bensch might get there one day, but he isn’t there yet.

No disrespect intended to Mr. Bensch, but if HotStove wants to become a reputable site for news and rumors, they should reconsider the caliber of the writers they choose to use as contributors.

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