Since when is Miguel Cabrera not getting any press for his Triple Crown?

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I realize that the whole Mike Trout-Miguel Cabrera MVP debate has led to a lot of old school-new school tribalism (and a lot of Detroit-non-Detroit tribalism), but it seems that in the past week or so that tribalism has taken a rather silly turn:  people claiming that Miguel Cabrera was/is getting no attention for his Triple Crown push.

I’ve seen it all over Twitter, almost always from people who are Tigers fans: people saying “Why is Cabrera getting no attention?” Or “Cabrera is gonna win the Triple Crown and NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT IT!”  We had a commenter here say that the other morning. He said in the middle of a time when HBT had run no less than three posts dedicated to Miguel Cabrera in a 12 hour period.

Here’s the latest incarnation of it, from The Big Lead:

Impressive feat, right? Except nobody outside of Detroit seems to care. Is it because Cabrera isn’t universally loved by the media? Is it because of the sport’s shift away from traditional stats and to Sabermetrics?

Five years ago, would Cabrera’s Triple Crown have received significantly more publicity? Is everyone still skeptical about cheating baseball players one year after the NL MVP, Ryan Braun, tested positive for Performance Enhancing Drugs, and one month after the leading hitter in the NL was busted for PEDs, too?

I’m not sure what planet this criticism is coming from. If you do a Google News search for “Miguel Cabrera MVP” — and even if you cut it off before yesterday to avoid all of the cut-and-paste “Cabrera won the Triple Crown” reports that came out last night — you get 93,000 results.  In that same time frame you get 13,000 or so “Mike Trout MVP” results.

That’s obviously not scientific, but I defy anyone to find me a single newspaper in city with a baseball team or any sports website out there that has not made multiple mentions of Miguel Cabrera and the Triple Crown.  Bud Selig issued an official statement from Major League Baseball congratulating him on the feat. Sure, maybe it could stand to be hyped even more given how rare it is (though at the moment I’m not sure how one could hype it more), but it has been hyped quite a lot.

What I think is really going on are people who are very pro-Cabrera in the MVP race not happy that he was being at all compared with Trout in the first place, and looking for considerably more Cabrera coverage they can point to and say “ah ha! More people agree with me! My preconceptions on the topic are validated!”

Folks: that fight is almost certainly over. I’d be shocked if Cabrera does not win the MVP. And I’d be equally as shocked if anyone can explain cogently and specifically — as opposed to merely making vague complaints — how Miguel Cabrera’s accomplishment is being somehow overlooked.

By the way: “Cabrera Triple Crown overlooked” has 1,500 Google News results in that time frame.  Maybe if everyone who is complaining about the lack of kudos Cabrera is getting and actually gave him kudos their life wouldn’t feel so unfulfilled.

Seattle Mariners to make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani

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Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a team-sponsored podcast the other day that the M’s will make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani. To that end, Dipoto said that the M’s would be willing to let the two-way star to pitch and to hit, which is something Ohtani is interested in doing in the United States. Not all clubs are likely to let him do this, with most likely seeing him as a starting pitcher only.

Ohtani, who is expected to be posted by his Japanese team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, possibly as early as today, can sign with anyone he wants. He is, however, subject to the international bonus pool caps, so the bids on him will be somewhat limited. The Texas Rangers and New York Yankees have the most money available: $3.535 million for the Rangers and $3.5 million for the Yankees. The Twins ($3.245 million), Pirates ($2.266 million), Marlins ($1.74 million) and Mariners ($1.57 million) are the only other teams with more than $1 million left. Twelve teams — including the Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals and Astros — are limited to a maximum of $300,000, having met or exceeded their caps for this signing period already.

Ohtani, however, is said to be less motivated by money than he is by finding the right situation. While a lot of guys say that, the fact that Ohtani is coming over to the U.S. now, when his financial prospects are limited, as opposed to waiting for two years when he is not subject to the bonus caps and could sign for nine figures, suggests that he is telling the truth. As such, a team like the Mariners that is willing to allow him to hit and pitch could make up for the couple of million less they have in bonus money to spend.

As for how that might work logistically, Dipoto said that the team would be willing to play DH Nelson Cruz a few days in the outfield to accommodate Ohtani, allowing him to DH on the days he’s not pitching. That might be . . . interesting to see, but given how badly the Mariners could use a good starting pitcher, they have an incentive to be creative.

Ohtani, 23, suffered some injuries in 2017, limiting him to just five starts and 65 games as a hitter. In 2016, however, he hit .289/.356/.547 with 22 homers in 342 at-bats and went 11-3 with a 3.24 ERA, and a K/BB ratio of 146/51 in 133.1 innings as a starter.

Five clubs have more money to spend on Ohtani than the Mariners do. None of those teams are on the west coast, which some Asian players have said in the past they preferred due to faster travel back home. The Mariners, owned for a long time by a Japanese company which still retains a minority interest in the club, and long the home for high-profile Japanese players such as Ichiro and Hisashi Iwakuma, likely have a better media and marketing reach in Japan than most other teams as well, which might be a factor in his decision making process. Is all that enough to sway Ohtani?

We’ll find out over the next couple of weeks.