Tigers should do the right thing and bench Cabrera

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Let’s just forget for a minute the domestic assault, though I still have a frightened woman’s voice running through my head.
Miguel Cabrera betrayed his team on Friday night. It’s one thing to blow off some steam after a tough loss. It’s entirely another for a 250-pound man to blow a 0.26 on a breath test likely at least an hour or so after he stopped drinking.
That’s enough steam to power a locomotive from Detroit to Minneapolis.
And this was the Tigers’ biggest weekend of the year. Cabrera’s wife called 911 at 6 a.m. Saturday morning. This wasn’t a player going out for a couple of hours and then coming home. He was out nearly until dawn, and now the guess is that he was at a hotel partying with one or more members of the White Sox.
Sure, the Tigers could have been all forgive and forget had he shaken off his hangover and launched a homer or two in the series against the White Sox. But he went 0-for-11 with a walk, including 0-for-7 in the two games after the incident. In the bottom of the eighth inning of Saturday’s loss, he grounded into a double play to kill a potential rally with one run already in.
Obviously, the MVP candidate was nowhere near 100 percent that night. Cabrera let his employers down. You know, the ones who signed him to a $152.3 million contract a year and a half ago. He let his teammates down. He let his fans down. And he clearly let his family down.
If he were Adam Everett or Marcus Thames, the Tigers would take a stand and bench him on Tuesday. He’s Miguel Cabrera, though, so it’s not going to happen.
In the Tigers’ defense, that’d just be letting his teammates and the team’s fans down again. The Tigers have worked too hard for seven months to see it all vanish because the team took a stand against its cleanup hitter. Cabrera, though, deserves the fate, and he’ll certainly have some explaining to do this winter.
Dating back to his days with the Marlins, there have been concerns about how Cabrera takes care of himself. He’d never been in trouble with the law before — that we know of — but he wasn’t as into conditioning as anyone would have liked. That’s a big reason why he’s now a full-time first baseman; he began his pro career as a shortstop and showed some early promise at third base.
Hopefully, he’ll be scared straight by the incident. All signs point to him avoiding criminal charges for the scuffle with his wife that left both with minor injuries. If he were a lesser player, the complete lack of regard for his team would probably make him a trade candidate this winter. The Tigers, though, will stand by him, and perhaps he’ll reward them in the end.

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves