miguel cabrera triple crown getty

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


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.

Erik Johnson likely to open 2016 in the White Sox rotation

DENVER, CO - APRIL 09:  Starting pitcher Erik Johnson #45 of the Chicago White Sox delivers against the Colorado Rockies during Interleague play at Coors Field on April 9, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies defeated the White Sox 10-4.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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With the White Sox losing Jeff Samardzija to free agency, Erik Johnson will likely get a shot to contribute out of the rotation to open up the 2016 season, GM Rick Hahn said in a conference call on Wednesday, per a report from MLB.com’s Scott Merkin.

“As we sit here today, I think it will be an opportunity for Erik Johnson to convert on sort of the return to form he showed back in 2015 when he was International League pitcher of the year for [Triple-A] Charlotte,” Hahn said. “Obviously, he got some starts in September and continued to show the progress in Chicago he had shown in the Minor Leagues over the course of the last season.

“So if Opening Day were today, then I think Johnson is penciled in to that spot in the rotation right now. In all probability, once we get closer to spring, there will be some competition for him to earn that spot. But if we were strictly looking at today, then I would think Johnson has the inside track on filling Samardzija’s innings.”

Johnson was called up from Triple-A Charlotte in September and made six starts, allowing 14 runs (13 earned) on 32 hits and 17 walks with 30 strikeouts in 35 innings. That followed up an impressive five months in the minors where he compiled a 2.37 ERA and a 136/41 K/BB ratio across 132 2/3 innings.

Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, and MLB.com each included Johnson on their top-100 prospect lists, ranking him 63rd, 67th, and 70th, respectively. The right-hander was selected by the White Sox in the second round of the 2011 draft.

Major League Baseball will investigate Yasiel Puig for his role in Miami nightclub brawl

Yasiel Puig
AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi

It was reported on Friday afternoon that Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig was involved in a brawl at a Miami nightclub. Details were scant at the time, but he reportedly left with a bruise on his face.

Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that Major League Baseball plans to investigate Puig under the league’s new domestic violence policy for his role in the brawl. Citing a report from TMZ, Hernandez notes that Puig shoved his sister, “brutally sucker-punched” the manager of the bar, and instigated the brawl.

The Dodgers and Puig’s agent have thus far refused to comment on the situation.

Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes was the first player to be investigated under the league’s new domestic violence policy earlier this month, as he allegedly assaulted his wife. Reyes has pleaded not guilty after he was charged with domestic abuse in Hawaii.

As our own Craig Calcaterra pointed out, commissioner Rob Manfred does not need to wait for Puig to plead guilty or to be found guilty to levy a punishment.

Dayan Viciedo close to signing with Japan’s Chunichi Dragons

Dayan Viciedo
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Patrick Newman is reporting that the Chunichi Dragons of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball and outfielder Dayan Viciedo are close to an agreement on a contract. Newman notes that the Dragons are close to signing pitcher Jordan Norberto as well.

Viciedo, 26, has struggled since making his major league debut in 2010 with the White Sox, batting an aggregate .254/.298/.424 with 66 home runs and 211 RBI in 1,798 plate appearances. He spent the 2015 season with Triple-A Charlotte (White Sox) and Nashville (Athletics), hitting a composite .287/.348/.450. While Viciedo can hit the occasional home run, he hasn’t shown the ability to do much else at the big league level. Given his age, he could prove himself in Japan and parlay that into a renewed shot in the majors in the future.

The White Sox signed Viciedo out of Cuba in December 2008, agreeing to a four-year, $10 million deal. The club re-signed him to one-year deals in 2013 and ’14 for $2.8 million each and $4.4 million ahead of the 2015 season.

Blue Jays sign J.A. Happ to a three-year, $36 million contract

J.A. Happ
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Update (8:45 PM EST): Per Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, Happ will get $10 million in 2016 and $13 million each in 2017 and ’18.


MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the Blue Jays have signed lefty J.A. Happ to a three-year deal worth $36 million.

Happ, 33, had a rebirth as a member of the Pirates last season after starting the season with 20 subpar starts with the Mariners. He made 11 starts for the Buccos, boasting a 1.85 ERA with a 69/13 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings.

Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported this past August that Happ’s newfound success had to do with a delivery tweak suggested by Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage. The Blue Jays are certainly hoping that adjustment is the full explanation for his success.

The Jays’ signing of Happ most likely signifies they won’t be pursuing free agent lefty David Price.

This will be Happ’s second stint with the Blue Jays. The Astros dealt him to Toronto in a July 2012 trade. He posted a 4.39 ERA with a 256/113 K/BB ratio in 291 innings with the Jays, then went to the Mariners in a trade this past December that brought outfielder Michael Saunders to the Jays.