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Miguel Cabrera is going to be in The Best Shape of His Life

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Miguel Cabrera is coming off his worse year as a major leaguer. While it’s possible that, after 15 seasons, the future Hall of Famer is finally entering a decline phase, the steep falloff in production he experienced was due far more to his health than to his age and the miles on the odometer.

Cabrera injured his back in the World Baseball Classic last spring and never managed to get right during the season. A lot of this, no doubt, is due to Miggy’s notorious aversion to taking time off when he’s banged up. More of it is due to the Tigers’ more troublesome aversion to making him take time off even when it is clear that he’s not himself, health-wise.

But never fear, the offseason conditioning stories are here!

MLB.com’s Jason Beck spoke to General Manager Al Avila during the GM meetings earlier this week and he says there will be a new and improved Miguel Cabrera next season:

“He’s working on his core muscle, and it’s a whole different workout program than he had before,” Avila said. “It’s basically geared toward strengthening that back and the vertebrae. Right now, in talking to him, he is probably going to be stronger than ever . . . You know how during the season he lost a lot of weight? He also lost some strength,” Avila said. “So he was weak in certain areas. And just because you lose weight doesn’t mean your muscles are strong enough to hold your back. And so, that’s what he’s doing now. He’s got the weight off, and now he’s strengthening those muscles around the core to give him that support.”

We’ll certainly see.

(h/t to Historiophiliac)

Tony Clark: Universal DH ‘gaining momentum’ among players

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Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark met the press late this morning and covered a wide array of topics.

One of them: free agency, which he referred to as being “under attack” based on the slow market for free agents last offseason.

“What the players saw last offseason was that their free-agent rights were under attack on what has been the bedrock of our system,” Clark said. He added that they “have some very difficult decisions to make.” Presumably in the form of grievances and, down the road, a negotiating strategy that seeks to claw back some of the many concessions the union has given owners in the past few Collective Bargaining Agreements. CBAs, it’s worth noting, that Clark negotiated. We’ve covered that territory in detail in the past.

Of more immediate interest was Clark’s comment that the idea of a universal designated hitter is, among players, “gaining momentum.” Clark says “players are talking about it more than they have in the past.” We’ve talked a lot about that as well.

Given that hating or loving the DH is the closest thing baseball has to a religion, no one’s mind is going to be changed by any of this, but I think, practically speaking, it’s inevitable that the National League will have the DH and I think it happens relatively soon. Perhaps in the next five years. The opposition to it at this point is solely subjective and based on tradition. People like pitchers batting and they like double switches and they like the leagues being different because they, well, like it. If the system were being set up today, however, they’d never have it this way and I think even the DH-haters know that well. That doesn’t mean that you can’t dislike a universal DH, but it does mean that you can’t expect the people who run the game to cater to that preference when it makes little sense for them to do it for their own purposes.

Anyway, enjoy convincing each other in the comments about how the side of that argument you dislike is wrong.