Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera had originally planned to arrive at spring training to begin preparing for the 2011 season this past Saturday, but that schedule took a wild and unfriendly detour when he was arrested for DUI and resisting arrest without the intention of violence last week.
Cabrera has been undergoing medical evaluation by team doctors and addiction specialists since that incident and has not yet been cleared to show his face at the Tigers’ spring training complex.
That could all change tomorrow.
According to Tom Gage and Lynn Henning of the Detroit News, Cabrera’s agent Fernando Cuza met Wednesday evening in Lakeland, Florida with several upper-level Tigers executives, including general manager Dave Dombrowski.
They presumably mapped out a plan that would allow Cabrera to begin participating in team practices while also taking care of his legal and medical issues. If things went well enough in that meeting and both sides agreed on a course of action, the 27-year-old first baseman could be in camp by Thursday morning.
Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant was one of the most prominent examples of service time manipulation in recent memory. He was ranked as the No. 1 prospect in baseball going into the 2015 season by Baseball America. He then had an incredible spring, batting .425 with a spring-high nine home runs and 15 RBI. The Cubs, however, didn’t add him to the Opening Day roster, instead keeping him in Triple-A for the first two weeks of the season, ensuring the club would get another year of control over Bryant because he wouldn’t accrue enough service time. He made his debut on April 17 and the rest was history. Bryant won the 2015 NL Rookie of the Year Award.
While the MLB Players Association filed a grievance on his behalf, Bryant didn’t say anything. But it was a learning moment for him. The same is true of the past offseason, which Bryant says “opened my eyes,” as Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. He now considers labor issues a priority, saying, “I need to study up, have my voice heard, continue to learn, because this is going to affect us for years to come. And I’d be foolish not to kind of offer myself out there.”
As Wittenmyer notes, Bryant hopes to replace Jake Arrieta as the Cubs’ player reprensentative. The players make that decision later this month. Bryant also vowed to fight for the next collective bargaining agreement. He said, “Maybe the focus was on other things rather than some of the more important things. But I think with this next one things are definitely going to change, and there’ll definitely be more fight on our side just because we’re going to get the chance to experience the effects of some of the things we agreed to. The only way to get what you want here is to fight for it. And I think you’re going to see a lot of that.”
It’s good to see Bryant motivated by recent economic developments in baseball. Hopefully more players take his lead and become more informed, arming themselves with all of the tools they need to create a better situation for themselves when the current CBA expires.