Miguel Cabrera slugs 40th home run, Tigers top Royals

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Max Scherzer surrendered just two runs over eight strong innings and Miguel Cabrera launched a two-run homer as the Tigers defeated the Royals 6-3 on Sunday afternoon at Detroit’s Comerica Park.

The performance netted Scherzer his 18th win — he is now 18-1 — and the home run was Cabrera’s 40th. Scherzer fanned four Kansas City hitters and issued no walks, throwing 76 of his 110 pitches for strikes. He owns a 2.82 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and 185/38 K/BB ratio in 172 1/3 innings this season and is in the hunt for the American League Cy Young Award with guys like Felix Hernandez, Yu Darvish and Chris Sale.

Cabrera, meanwhile, is looking for a second straight American League MVP Award and he has a decent shot at back-to-back Triple Crowns. The 30-year-old slugger boasts a lead in batting average (.360) over Mike Trout (.332) and in RBI (120) over Chris Davis (115). Cabrera trails Davis (45) in home runs by five.

The Tigers are 73-51 with a growing lead in the AL Central and the best run differential (+155) in the majors.

Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto reportedly asks to be traded

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Craig Mish of MLB Network Radio is reporting that Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto has requested a trade out of Miami. Jon Heyman is characterizing it as Realmuto telling the team that he “wouldn’t mind” a trade.

Either way, Realmuto has no power to force a trade. This isn’t the NBA or something. Still, it’s evidence of just how dreary a prospect remaining in Miami is for Marlins veterans in the wake of trades that sent Giancarlo Stanton to New York, Marcell Ozuna to St. Louis.

Realmuto, who will turn 27 just before the 2018 season, hit .278/.332/.451 with 17 homers, 65 RBI, and eight steals over 141 games this past season. He only has three years of service time and is arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason. He made just $562K in the 2017 and will get a big raise this year, but he’s still going to be underpaid based on his production. If the Marlins wanted to trade him, they’d get a nice return. Why they would want to trade him, I have no idea.

Expect more of this sort of thing as the Marlins slash payroll and make it clear that their immediate priorities are more about saving money and less about winning baseball games. Which may or may not be a valid goal for the team’s new owners, but is certainly a letdown for baseball players and fans.