UPDATE: In addition to saying that Miguel Cabrera was going to have the biggest year of his life — see below — Jim Leyland just threw one right into my wheelhouse. Jeff Passan is on the scene passing quotes along:
“Miguel Cabrera is in the best shape of his life. He’s stronger than he’s ever been. And he’s quicker than he’s ever been.”
The BSOML meme is officially broken. I can’t write about it with a straight face anymore. Well, I probably still will, but I’ll never top Leyland. Leyland went on to say this about Cabrera’s arrest:
“It has no effect. It might make some dramatic reading material. It’s not going to do shit. Believe me. Nothing.”
I laud Leyland for having his player’s back. But that’s a bridge too far. Cabrera may have a good season because, after all, he’s a great player. But the man also has a serious problem with alcohol, and that’s not nothing. There will be an effect. There has to be, because Miguel Cabrera needs to change his life.
9:06 A.M.: Jim Leyland spoke to reporters this morning. I would not have guessed beforehand that this is something he’d say about Miguel Cabrera
“he’s probably going to have the biggest year of his life”
Well, it has certainly started out with a bang.
Although I suppose it’s entirely possible too. If there is any bright side at all to this — and yes, I realize I’m reaching — it’s that this happened just as spring training is getting underway. There are obviously major issues to deal with here — this was not a case of one too many beers at the barbecue — but he has a month and a half in which his primary job is to focus on physical conditioning. And those around him, including Leyland, the front office, teammates and other, have more time to help him get his head right than they would if the routines of the regular season were underway.
At least that’s the hope.
The Red Sox have more or less withdrawn from the Edwin Encarnacion sweepstakes, with Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald noting that much of their reluctance hinges on the likelihood that they’d exceed the new $195 million luxury tax threshold by locking the DH into a lucrative deal. That doesn’t leave them without options, however, and FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported that the club could be interested in 29-year-old corner infielder Pedro Alvarez, as well as fellow free agents Mike Napoli and Matt Holliday.
After playing just 10 games at DH from 2010 to 2015, Alvarez suited up as the Orioles’ primary designated hitter and part-time third baseman in 2016. His defense is sub-par, to say the least, but he batted .249/.322/.504 with 22 home runs for Baltimore in 2016.
According to Heyman, the Red Sox envision using Alvarez in much the same way the Orioles did. He’d have a place as the team’s DH with the occasional infield start, while Hanley Ramirez would keep his post at first base. Whether the Red Sox make offers to Napoli, Holliday or Alvarez, they’re expected to pursue a short-term deal in order to stay under budget.
The Braves signed left-handed reliever Jacob Lindgren to a one-year deal, according to a team announcement on Sunday.
Lindgren, the Yankees’ top draft pick in 2014, was nicknamed “The Strikeout Factory” after blowing through four levels of New York’s farm system in 2014. He started the 2015 season in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and was called up for his major league debut only two months into the 2015 season. The 22-year-old lasted seven innings with the club before succumbing to bone chips in his elbow, and underwent bone spur surgery in June before trying his luck again during spring training in 2016.
In August, the Yankees shut Lindgren down for the remainder of the season so the lefty could undergo Tommy John surgery. With a projected return date of 2018, Lindgren was non-tendered by the Yankees on Friday.
While the Braves won’t get the benefit of Lindgren’s top prospect skill set in their bullpen anytime soon, he will remain under club control if they keep him on their 40-man roster beyond the 2017 season (per ESPN’s Keith Law).