The Sports Pages: Lee Spurns Yanks, Cabrera’s Walks, and Laird is a Cardinal


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

– Earl Warren

Cliff Lee shocked the world late last night by agreeing to terms with the Philadelphia Phillies on a new contract. It had been believed to be a two-horse race between the Yankees and Rangers, but Lee’s experience in Philadelphia in 2009, along with a very big contract, apparently swayed the left hander to sign in the City of Brotherly Love.

So… Roy Halladay, Lee, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels… yep, it’s a tough day to be a fan of the Mets or Braves or Marlins. That’s just sick.

Kudos to Lee for leaving the Yankees at the altar. I know he got a huge amount of money (more per year than New York was offering, but fewer seasons), but he still left roughly $30 million in guaranteed money on the table. It warms my heart that Tigers fans won’t have to worry about seeing lee until October, if at all. It’s even more warming that the Yankees didn’t get their man. And they didn’t get Jayson Werth or Carl Crawford, either. If Andy Pettitte actually does retire, the Yankees will be scrambling for second-tier pitching.

Jon Heyman tells us that former Tiger catcher Gerald Laird will now serve as backup to Yadier Molina in St. Louis. MLBTR doesn’t have confirmation of any deal in place, but considering that Heyman has a history of getting his information on Scott Boras clients straight from Satan’s mouth. Laird produced a .218/.289/.313 line in two seasons with the Tigers, swatting nine home runs and 34 doubles in over 680 at bats.

Playing behind Molina is roughly the equivalent to being Peyton Manning’s backup, Laird will get most of his playing time during Spring Training next year. It’s good signing for St. Louis. Laird does well defensively and because Molina is so durable, Laird’s horrendous offense won’t hurt them very much.

Miguel Cabrera lead the American league in intentional walks last year, just missing a league record with his 32 intentional passes. That part you knew. What you probably didn’t know was that Cabrera (along with Adrian Gonzalez) joined a very exclusive club in 2010. With his 89 total walks, Cabrera became the fourth player ever (and first American Leaguer) to amass at least 30 intentional walks in a season where he walked fewer than 100 times.

Also on that list, Kevin Mitchell (1989) and Vladimir Guerrero (2002). It becomes more impressive when you consider that of the four player who have done that, only Cabrera and Guerrero also struck out fewer than 100 times in that season and Cabrera’s 2010 campaign ranked first in OBP, extra base hits, and OPS of any of the four seasons. This just in: Cabrera is very, very good.

The Tigers finally finalized their minor league coaching staffs with the announcement of new skippers at Erie and Lakeland. Chris Cron, who spent a long time (16 seasons) managing in the White Sox organization, takes over at Erie, replacing Phil Nevin, who replaced Larry Parrish at Toledo. Dave Huppert was named the new manager at Lakeland replacing Andy Barkett, who left for a Double-A gig with the Marlins. Huppert is a 21-year veteran minor league manager, spending time with the White Sox, Phillies, Marlins, Brewers, and Expos.

I’ll leave you today with another celebratory moment. There is nothing that bring more happiness to my eyes as a Tigers fan than watching the Metrodome collapse. Far too many bad memories of that place.

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