CSI: Buster Olney

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Miguel Cabrera has apologized to his teammates and the Tigers have been eliminated, so the whole issue of him getting his drink on and getting violent is now less a public matter than it is a matter between Cabrera, his wife, his team, his health and the law, but I’d be remiss in not pointing out Buster Olney’s piece on it all today.  He contacted an expert to determine whether or not Cabrera was still drunk at gametime last Saturday. The upshot:

Jim Fell, the Director for Traffic Safety and Enforcement Programs of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, in Calverton, Md., said in a phone interview that the typical person processes alcohol at the rate of about .015 per hour, which means that someone with a blood alcohol level of .26 would need about 17 hours for the alcohol to clear his or her system. An experienced drinker would metabolize alcohol at about .020 per hour . . . an experienced drinker would have required 13 hours to metabolize alcohol at that level.

Based on the time of the BAC test and first pitch, that means that if Cabrera metabolizes booze like an experienced drinker, he was at a .08 at the time he showed up at the ballpark and a .02 at first pitch.  If he’s more of a regular Joe, he would have been a .08 at game time. Of course, Olney’s expert did not factor in the healing power of Sausage McMuffins in all of this, so I’m a bit dubious of the results. 

That aside, I’m inclined to think Cabrera would be better off if he metabolized like a normal person. A BAC of 08 is probably buzzed. With a .02, you’re likely entering full-blown hangover mode.  Your mileage may vary, but while being sober is always preferable, drinkers I know — and Cabrera sounds like one — tend to function a tad better with a little grease in the gears than they do when the gears are grinding following a bender.

Anyone who wants to take their last shots at Cabrera had better do so in the comments, because I’m not writing about him again until the inevitable “Cabrera enters rehab” story comes out.

Report: Teams reluctant to gamble on Cliff Lee

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.

Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.

In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.

Orioles reconsidering signing Yovani Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.

Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.

The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.

Freddy Garcia is calling it a career

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Elsa/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.

Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.

“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”

Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.

Video: 2016 will be a season to remember

Carlos+Correa+Houston+Astros+v+Arizona+Diamondbacks+Ctyu5RiU3SWl
Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.

It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.