The Sports Pages: Miguel Cabrera, Free Agent Rumors, and the Links


“I always turn to the sports pages first, which records man’s accomplishments. The front page has nothing but man’s failures.”

– Earl Warren

The Tigers resident thumper, Miguel Cabrera, took home his third career Silver Slugger award last night, his first since joining the Tigers. Samara has a wonderful illustration over at Roar of the Tigers. Cabrera flirted with a triple crown for a good part of the season and although he couldn’t keep up with Jose Bautista‘s home run prowess, Cabrera still lead all of baseball with 126 RBI.

In winning the award as a first baseman, Cabrera became just the second player ever to win the award at three different positions, joining Albert Pujols. Cabrera previously won the NL Silver Slugger with Florida as a third baseman (2006) and outfielder (2005).

"“I think he probably gets more respect from an offensive standpoint than any hitter in the league,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “I think he’s been the best player in the league this year.”"

Jason Beck has the details (as well as the rest of the winners). Perhaps the maturation of Cabrera into becoming the player he has this year can be traced back to his well-documented incident at the tail-end of 2009, and the recovery he has undergone.

"“I told him I’m very proud of the way he handled it. He should be very proud of the way he handled the situation,” team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said last month. “He’s done a lot to help himself personally. He’s put a lot of effort into it. He looked like a changed person this year — I’m not talking about his ability, just his overall attitudes. There was a lot of effort put into that, and it wasn’t easy. And I know it’s something he’ll continue to work on, but he should be proud of himself.”"

We all should be proud of him. There are no excuses for Cabrera’s behavior that evening last year, and Cabrera offered none. He accepted that he needed to make changes in his life and dedicate himself to becoming a better husband and father. It’s a lesson we all can learn from, no matter our personal circumstances. Bravo, Miguel.

**Elsewhere,’s Ben Reiter gave his notes on the top 50 free agents this winter. Like others, he sees Victor Martinez as a fit with the Tigers, but the surprise came when he got to Manny Ramirez. It’s not shocking that Reiter listed him as number 26, what caught me off guard was when he said that Manny would fit best as a Tiger next year.

"…while he has mentioned that he’d like to join former Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell in Toronto,… there doesn’t seem to be much room for him there, as Adam Lind and Travis Snider both need and deserve playing time. The Tigers, meanwhile, could use his pop, if not his aggravating behavior, and have an opening."

In my humble opinion, Manny as a Tiger would have to be a worst-case-scenario type signing, and it would have to come in much the same way they snagged Johnny Damon last year. If Detroit strikes out in pursuit of Jayson Werth, Carl Crawford, Adam Dunn, and Magglio Ordonez, then and only then, should they kick the tires on Manny.

**Lynn Henning also dabbled in the off-season speculation business yesterday when he opined that Martinez would be a fit for the Tigers (an opinion shared by many). I agree about VMart and also about the idea that Miguel Olivo would be a great Plan-B, but Henning lost me when he talked about targeting Bruce Chen to join the starting rotation next year. Give credit to Henning for thinking outside of the box a bit, but there are some ideas I just can’t get behind.

**Ken Rosenthal plays the role of kill-joy and offers up the possibility that Martinez could wind up signing in Texas, along with Cliff Lee. Sound far-fetched? Maybe not.

**Getting back into Tigers already under contract, Beck has another piece on the recovery of Carlos Guillen. Guillen isn’t sure where he’ll play next year as far as a position, but stated that it isn’t a concern to him. Guillen has moved all around the diamond in recent years as the Tigers have struggled to keep him off the disabled list.

If he can come back healthy, and the Tigers are able to snag a bat or two, Guillen’s best bet for playing time will be at second base. Even there, he’ll face competition for at bats from Scott Sizemore and Will Rhymes. Guillen knows, however, that if he isn’t healthy, it won’t matter where the Tigers plan to use him.

**Kurt is continuing to profile each player over at Bless You Boys. His latest piece gives his grade for reliever Robbie Weinhardt. Although Kurt doesn’t give a projection for next year, I feel that Weinhardt pitched far better than his gaudy numbers implied and he should be a front-runner to make the team out of Spring Training in 2011. As Kurt pointed out, Weinhardt was far more successful after being recalled in September than in his first stint with Detroit.

**Fangraphs spent the day yesterday digging into the Tigers farm system, although you wouldn’t think it would take that long. Bryan Smith offered up his five “must follow” Tigers prospects in one piece, going into detail on each one. If he’s right, I love his projections of both Daniel Fields and Nick Castellanos.

In other piece, Mark Hulett listed his top-10 Tigers prospects. Notable omissions on that list include Casey Crosby, Charlie Furbush, and Francisco  Martinez. Not to worry though, Smith came back with an overview on those guys (and others) later in the day.

**Have you seen the LeBron James “What should I do” ad? Of course you have. Rogo applied his genius to Jim Leyland with the same idea. As with most of the stuff at DesigNateRobertson, this piece isn’t to be missed.

That’s all I got this week, kiddies. Enjoys the links!

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