Cabrera had a previous run-in with the law

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File this under stuff no one ever would have known or cared about if Miguel Cabrera hadn’t screwed up on Saturday:

During an altercation at a Birmingham bar in August, Detroit Tigers
slugger Miguel Cabrera allegedly mocked a teenager about his weight and
challenged a man to a fight in an incident that resulted in no criminal
charges but prompted Tigers management to order Cabrera to avoid the
bar, according to information provided to The Detroit News . . .

. . . In the August incident, according to the information, a man told
Birmingham police that he and an unnamed teen encountered Cabrera at
the Rugby Grille on Aug. 31 about 6:30 p.m. Cabrera allegedly asked the
teen, who weighs about 300 pounds, “What’s up, big boy? You need to
work out,” according to the information provided to The News.

After that things apparently escalated, and Cabrera — though unarmed — implied that he had a gun out in his car.  He was not charged, but the irony police did issue the often out-of-shape Cabrera a citation for making fun of someone else’s weight.

The significant thing about this is that the Tigers were made aware of it at the time, their security people got involved, and Cabrera was ordered by the team to avoid the bar.  He didn’t, however, because according to this and other stories in the Detroit News, Cabrera’s Friday night/Saturday morning drinking occurred at the same place.

Last night Matthew argued that the Tigers should bench Cabrera for tonight’s playoff. I’m not sure if that’s the right thing to do or not, but let’s do the math: (a) the team knew that Saturday was not Cabrera’s first problem with going out and getting rowdy; (b) the team knew that Cabrera had violated their specific order that he stay away from that particular bar; and (c) the team nonetheless allowed him to play on Saturday and Sunday.

In light of this, if the Tigers bench Cabrera they should get absolutely no credit for “doing the right thing.”  To the contrary, because they had all of the same information in hand over the weekend and took no action against Cabrera, benching him now would constitute a transparent P.R. move on the team’s part, not something they do because they actually think that Cabrera is deserving of punishment.

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.