Remember that sports hernia that the Tigers pretty strongly implied Miguel Caberea was not suffering from in the last two months of last season? The ailment that got him no time on the DL even though he probably needed it in September? Well, it’s all good now. He feels 100% according to the Detroit News.
But the biggest takeaway from that story is when Cabrera was asked about being sad in the wake of Prince Fielder getting traded. He scoffed at the notion:
Was he shocked the Tigers unloaded Fielder’s huge contract for Ian Kinsler, thus significantly altering the batting order? Yep, he was. Was he saddened by it?
“What do you mean ‘sad?’ ” Cabrera said. “Yeah, he was a big part of our team. When you see somebody get traded, you don’t want that. But I don’t put extra negative things in my head because everybody talks about it. I got a great hitter behind me, and people in the big leagues got a lot of respect for Victor (Martinez).”
Yeah, sure. You weren’t sad, Miguel. You only spent an entire night being all emo on Twitter, posting pictures of Prince. Not sad at all.
On Sunday, we heard from former Ray and current Giants third baseman Evan Longoria. The Rays recently traded pitcher Jake Odorizzi to the Twins for a prospect and designated All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, which didn’t make a whole lot of sense outside of a cost-cutting perspective. Longoria said, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base.”
Today, we’re hearing from a current Ray: center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, who is set to enter his fifth full season with the club. Via Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, Kiermaier said, “I am 100 percent frustrated and very upset with the moves. No beating around the bush. It’s one of those things that makes you scratch your head, you don’t know the reasoning why. And then you see the team’s explanation and still it’s just like, okay, well, so be it.”
Longoria — formerly the face of the franchise — was traded to the Giants in December and the Rays continued to subtract with their recent moves involving Odorizzi and Dickerson. Odorizzi has a career 3.83 ERA in what has been a solid, if unspectacular, career. Dickerson put up an All-Star season, posting an .815 OPS with 27 home runs in 150 games. Moving either player was not done to fix a positional log jam. In fact, with Odorizzi out of the picture, the Rays are planning to use a four-man starting rotation for the first six-plus weeks of the season, Topkin reported on Sunday. Dickerson’s ouster simply opens the door for Mallex Smith, who posted a .684 OPS last year, to start every day in the outfield.
The Rays got markedly worse after going 80-82 last season. They saved a few million bucks jettisoning Odorizzi and Dickerson. And Rays ownership still wants the public to foot most of the bill for their new stadium.
When it was just one small market team pinching pennies, it was fine. But now that more than half of the league has adopted penny-pinching principles popularized by Moneyball and Sabermetrics (with the Rays among the chief offenders), the game of baseball has become markedly less fan- and player-friendly. This offseason has been less about players signing contracts and changing teams in trades — which helps build excitement and intrigue for the coming year — and more about front offices doing math problems concerning the $197 million competitive balance tax threshold and other self-imposed monetary restraints. Fun. Kiermaier is right to be upset and he’s very likely not alone in feeling that way.