Ramble On Sports

Where sports, pop culture and everything else collide.

Throw us a frickin’ bone, Detroit

Posted by Bill Koch on December 9, 2009

Now that the Detroit Tigers have officially started waving the white flag, it’s time for the rest of Major League Baseball’s contenders to start picking at the bones.

Detroit’s three-way trade with the New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks could set off a fire sale in the Motor City, as the area’s tanking local economy and a series of horrific contracts seem to have finally caught up to the Tigers. Detroit shipped two of its top five players last season, outfielder Curtis Granderson and starting pitcher Edwin Jackson, out of town in exchange for a haul of relatively inexperienced players who won’t be ready to help a true contender anytime soon. The Tigers are trying to tell the world that everyone except maybe dominant starters Justin Verlander and Rick Porcello is available, including slugger Miguel Cabrera – exactly the kind of power bat that the Boston Red Sox could desperately use.

Despite my personal reservations about the guy, I think Cabrera is someone who could help the Red Sox immeasurably. He’s the pure power bat that Boston has lacked in the middle of its order since that scumbag who used to wear No. 24 and play left field stopped catching up to good fastballs and finally shot his way out of town after 7.5 years of holding the Red Sox hostage due to his ridiculously bloated contract. Pair Cabrera with Victor Martinez going forward and Boston would have one of the best 1-2 slugging combinations in the league, similar to when the Red Sox finally broke through to win the World Series in 2004 with No. 24 and David Ortiz leading the way.

Cabrera comes with plenty of baggage – specifically, that he’s an immature drunk who has had more than one or two domestic incidents. He was arrested the night before the start of a season-ending three-game series with the Minnesota Twins after police were called to his home sometime around 6 a.m. Cabrera had a blood alcohol level of 0.26 when he was taken into custody, hardly the sort of responsibility you would hope your best hitter would take before the three biggest games of the year. The Tigers ended up missing the postseason when they lost a one-game playoff for the American League Central title to the Twins, and public sentiment likely isn’t too warm for Cabrera in Detroit at this point – more good news for Boston.

Having said all that, the guy mashes the baseball. Cabrera has hit at least 33 home runs in five of the past six seasons, driven in at least 103 runs in each of the last six years and posted an OPS of at least .942 in four of the last five years. He’s the sort of fearsome slugger that gives opposing pitchers nightmares, a departure from the gentlemanly slap hitters that Boston seems to favor in its Moneyball approach. (All J.D. Drew fans close your eyes and skip two lines…now.) Having an OBP of .390 and taking pitches is all well and good until you get into the postseason and guys start pounding the strike zone. The Red Sox found out firsthand in the last two postseasons while being handcuffed by the likes of John Lackey, Jered Weaver and Matt Garza that sometimes you need to be capable of doing some uninhibited damage. Look no further than the hammering done by this year’s World Series opponents, the Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies, to see what I’m talking about.

Cabrera’s production is undeniable – and so is his price tag, which makes him a perfect target for the Red Sox. He’s due at least $20 million per season until 2015, hardly a sum the Tigers can afford with horrendous contracts on its books that will pay underachievers like Jeremy Bonderman, Carlos Guillen and Dontrelle Willis a total of $31.2 million in 2010. The financial mess is at the root of the Tigers’ decision to try to get younger and cheaper, bringing in pitchers Max Scherzer and Daniel Schlereth from Arizona and outfield prospect Austin Jackson from New York.

Cabrera costs a lot more than Adrian Gonzalez would, a name that’s been hot on Boston’s radar screen since the July 31 trade deadline last year, but forget about trying to deal for the San Diego Padres’ first baseman. With former Theo Epstein lieutenant Jed Hoyer now serving as San Diego’s general manager, the Red Sox have no chance to pull one over on the Padres in a trade for their best player. If Boston decides not to try to make a blockbuster deal for pitching help in the form of Felix Hernandez or Roy Halladay, Cabrera should be their main target.

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2 Responses to “Throw us a frickin’ bone, Detroit”

  1. Collin said

    Agreed – if the Sox can get Cabrera, they should go for it. He’s a heck of a hitter.

  2. bigblue123 said

    Get up off yer knees son-

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