Miguel Cabrera

Great Moments in Selective Endpoints

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Fox’s Jon Paul Morosi has been at the vanguard of the Miguel Cabrera MVP argument. The Michigan resident and former Tigers beat writer is very pro-Cabrera this year.

Which is fine, because as I’ve said before, it will not be an atrocity if Miguel Cabrera wins the MVP award. I think, personally, it’s the wrong choice, but it wouldn’t even be in the top 10 of worst award votes in the past decade. Cabrera is having a fine season, and let no amount of pro-Mike Trout arguing make you think otherwise.

But what does get me is when folks base their argument on questionable assertions like this:

Why August 24?  Do games before that not matter?  Or is it because on August 23 Mike Trout had a big game, going 3 for 6 and driving in a couple of runs and after that had an 0 for 5 while Miguel Cabrera ended an 0 for 10 stretch on August 24 and hit a homer? It has to have some other significance, does it not? Because it cannot be the case that Morosi felt it necessary to cut off things on that date simply because it bolsters his preconceived notions of the matter.

But heck, if we’re going to put so much weight on the last month, why isn’t Adrian Beltre the MVP? He’s hit just as well as Cabrera down the stretch but he isn’t killing the Rangers on defense at third base like Cabrera is the Tigers.  If the response is that the Tigers are in a closer race, well why does Cabrera get extra points simply because his team sucks more?  And if the response is, well, Cabrera has had the better overall season, why in he hell don’t you let Mike Trout back into the argument? And where do we note that, right as the Tigers are making the push past the White Sox this week, Cabrera has gone 0 for his last 12 against the Royals?

Know what? If you just like Miguel Cabrera better and think he’s more deserving for non-quantifiable reasons, just say so. Just go all-in with your subjective feelings about his game and the magical sense his season gives you or whatever.  But don’t try to have it both ways. Don’t try to say that the stats which favor Mike Trout don’t matter but the stats which favor your guys does.  Have some sort of logical consistency to your position.

Dallas Keuchel, Astros did talk long-term contract

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Dallas Keuchel‘s agent Darek Braunecker told MLB Network Radio in early January that he had not engaged in any long-term contract negotiations with the Astros’ front office. Two weeks later, the sides reached a one-year, $7.25 million agreement, avoiding a salary arbitration hearing. So was a bigger financial commitment ever discussed?

Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle has the answer, writing in his offseason review that the “Astros and Keuchel have had substantial talks about extensions [this winter] … but to no avail.”

Keuchel carries all the leverage in the world after winning the 2015 American League Cy Young Award with a 2.48 ERA, 1.017 WHIP, and 216/51 K/BB ratio in 232 innings. He also made three appearances in the postseason to a 2.57 ERA in 14 frames.

Keuchel’s $7.25 million salary for 2016 will be a record for a player in his first year of arbitration eligibility. Locking up some of his free agent years (2019, 2020, 2021, etc.) would likely take a commitment of $120 million or more.

Houston has the 28-year-old left-hander under contractual control through 2018, and it sounds like the plan is to go season-to-season with his salaries.

He’ll remain a huge value to a good-looking Astros team.

Yadier Molina gets cast removed from surgically-repaired thumb

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Yadier Molina underwent surgery to repair a ligament tear in his right thumb shortly after the Cardinals were eliminated from the NLDS by the Cubs, and then he needed a followup procedure two months later.

It’s been an offseason of rest and rehab for the seven-time All-Star and eight-time Gold Glover, though he’s about ready to ramp up the intensity of workouts with the beginning of spring training approaching …

Brayan Pena was signed to a two-year, $5 million free agent contract this winter to provide more reliable depth behind the plate. He’ll be the Cardinals’ starter at catcher come Opening Day if Yadi isn’t quite ready.

Molina started a whopping 131 games behind the plate in 2015.

Jose Fernandez wants $30 million a year, Marlins don’t plan on paying

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You’ve heard the stories by now. Jose Fernandez does not get along with Marlins management and is doubtful to sign a long-term contract with the team.

There’s still time for those relationships to be repaired — Fernandez can’t become a free agent until after the 2018 season — but we also have a monetary issue at play.

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes Sunday that the Marlins are “under the impression” Fernandez and his representatives want $30 million per year on a long-term deal, a figure the Marlins “have no plans to meet.”

If the Marlins won’t pay, Fernandez and his reps will seek that number when the ace right-hander reaches free agency. That could be the same offseason Bryce Harper tries for $500 million.

A friend of Fernandez told Jackson that the 23-year-old native of Cuba was upset about some of the trades the Marlins made last summer and the removal of pitching coach Chuck Hernandez. You probably heard talk of Miami shopping Fernandez this winter, but the asking price was predictably sky-high.

Fernandez has been limited to 19 starts over the last two years because of Tommy John surgery and a biceps injury, but he boasts a stellar 2.40 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, and 10.5 K/9 in 289 career major league frames. He will make $2.8 million in 2016 and carries two more years of arbitration eligibility.

If he can put together a run of 30-start, 200-inning seasons, Fernandez will get that $30 million per year and probably much more.

Michael Brantley’s timetable off shoulder surgery is “hazy”

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Paul Hoynes at the Cleveland Plain Dealer has an in-depth look at how the Indians will manage their outfield during the early part of the 2016 season, in the absence of star Michael Brantley.

Brantley underwent labrum surgery on his right shoulder this past November and has not picked up a bat all winter. “In the off-season people know I love to hit,” Brantley acknowledged to Hoynes late last week. ”I hit a lot. It’s just been a change in my timetable.”

Hoynes says the projected date for Brantley’s 2016 debut is “hazy,” guessing that it might happen around late April or early May if everything continues to go smoothly. Shoulders can be tricky, for hitters and pitchers.

Rajai Davis, Abraham Almonte, and Lonnie Chisenhall figure to make up Cleveland’s primary starting outfield while Brantley is finishing his rehabilitation. Collin Cowgill and Joey Butler could also be in the mix. It’s a lacking group, tasked with replacing one of the most productive players in baseball.

Brantley, 28, has slashed .319/.382/.494 over the last two seasons, tallying 35 home runs, 90 doubles, 181 RBI, and 38 stolen bases in 293 games.

Could the talented Tribe be in for another slow start?

Shouldn’t this club be spending more money?