Opinions on Miguel Cabrera following his recent DUI arrest have varied widely. The media and fans have spun the situation as anything from a "boys will be boys" story to "take the season off for rehab."
We all know that alcoholism isn't something to laugh about and should be handled very delicately. What we don't know is the extent that alcohol has had a grasp on Miguel Cabrera.
Cabrera is set to be evaluated by league doctors early this week in order to have a clearer understanding of how to proceed. Dave Dombrowski has relayed that this was the first time Cabrera "fell off the wagon" since his well-publicized encounter with the law in 2009.
Let me start off by saying I cannot think of a situation where I would do anything with Cabrera except help him through any problems he has. I also think it's very unlikely that the team would consider trying to move Cabrera, but the topic has been brought up.
Miguel Cabrera is often considered the second best hitter in baseball behind Albert Pujols. He is also more than three years younger than Pujols. He's the type of hitter that comes around a couple times in a decade. The Tigers recognize this despite his troubles.
That being said, if something happened that forced the Tigers to move Cabrera, I see several attractive landing spots. I don't buy into the theory that Cabrera's value has diminished much because of his problems. As opposed to drugs and steroids, alcohol seems to have been a part of the game, and several Hall of Famers were known to have an issue.
I'm not saying it's right. I'm just saying it's the truth. I think any team would take a chance on the best hitter in the game under 28.
Here are my 10 possible landing spots for Cabrera should the Tigers move him.
Admittedly, it's tough to find much that the Tigers could get in reciprocal value from the Cubs. Suppose, though, that the Tigers were looking for some long-term salary relief while still acquiring some major league-ready talent...this is something that might work.
Pena has a history with the Tigers—not a great history, but a history nonetheless. It appears that Pena has grown up since his time with the Tigers and has matured into one of the league's premier power hitters. He would also fill the void left at first base.
Matt Garza is a decent young pitcher who could provide a capable back-end rotation guy or insurance if one of the other righties (Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello or Brad Penny) doesn't pan out.
The Cubs would love Cabrera, as he'd give them their first true superstar position player since Sammy Sosa was roiding it up in the Windy City in the late '90s.
This would be an odd trade seeing that neither Garza nor Pena has played a game for the Cubs, but down the road, it would free up some of the payroll the Tigers have committed to Cabrera.
This deal would make a little more sense for the Tigers and would again be something that would interest the A's. The Tigers need left-handed starters, and the A's need major league-ready talent.
The A's have shown a willingness this offseason to improve and open the checkbook, and Cabrera would instantly add credibility to the team. He would no doubt put some extra fans in the seats, and with the rotation the A's have, they would have a real shot at dethroning the Rangers in the AL West.
The A's have a deep rotation with Trevor Cahill and Brett Anderson showing dynamic potential and Dallas Braden being a solid No. 3 guy. They could probably stand to lose Gio Gonzalez, whose power style would fit in the Tigers rotation well.
Chris Carter is a top A's prospect who has shown big-time power. He's almost major league-ready and could be a long-term solution at first base for the Tigers.
Basically a swap of shortstops and first basemen here. Each team would get the other's superstar. The Tigers would be taking on a player with injury concerns, but to compensate, they would get a young first baseman in Ike Davis who could still grow.
My concern here would be that Cabrera hasn't shown much to be a limelight type of player, so he may not fit well in New York. Not withstanding his legal issues, Cabrera's been a more reserved player.
Jose Reyes could finally solve the Tigers' long-term shortstop headaches. Other than a couple decent years of Carlos Guillen, the Tigers haven't had an All-Star-caliber shortstop since Alan Trammell in the 1980s.
The Mets would acquire Jhonny Peralta, who has proven to be a serviceable major leaguer.
Here's one I'm not quite sure the Diamondbacks would pull the trigger on. They would pick up some salary and give up two starters. If they had any reservations about Cabrera, they would quickly turn this down, as Justin Upton is becoming an elite-level talent himself.
Kelly Johnson would help the Tigers shore up their second base position with a veteran player. He's not an All-Star but is a solid player who could help the Tigers.
This trade would create a hole at first base for Detroit, but Victor Martinez could fill in fine at first while the Tigers search for their long-term solution. It could perhaps be Ryan Strieby...a power hitter who's destined to be buried in the minors as long as Cabrera is ahead of him.
For the Tigers, Upton would move to right and Magglio Ordonez would be a DH...where he probably should be anyway.
Sizemore would be a throw-in player. He was seen as a high-level prospect for the Tigers but flamed out in 2010 and quickly lost his starting spot. He was coming off an injury, however, so it's still too early to write him off.
The Tigers have dealt with the Diamondback before, and Kirk Gibson's strong ties to Detroit wouldn't hurt the facilitation of this trade.
Here's a trade that would make quite a bit of sense for both teams and send Cabrera back to the team that got him his start.
Ramirez has expressed displeasure with the Marlins organization, and he could get a fresh start in Detroit. His name has been linked to the Tigers in the past.
He would shore up the shortstop position and help replace the pop in the lineup lost from Cabrera. The Tigers would need to play Victor Martinez at first base, and the DH spot would need to be filled by another player, such as Brennan Boesch.
Florida would no doubt welcome back the slugger they regret trading in the first place. Cabrera would have the support structure of being near his permanent home in the United States, so his support level would be high.
Where this trade doesn't make sense is the salaries. The Marlins have been traditionally cheap, and Cabrera makes nearly $8 million a year more than Ramirez.
Again trying to resolve their historic shortstop woes, the Tigers would get Elvis Andrus and an apparently unhappy veteran in Michael Young. Young has already been linked to the Tigers, so this deal makes sense, as it would solve the Tigers' holes in the middle of the infield.
Andrus is a Gold Glove-caliber shortstop. He's been relatively unproductive with his bat, but he's young and has time to grow. Young is starting to get up there in age, but he's an extremely productive player who could play second for the Tigers. His workmanlike demeanor would fit well with the Tigers.
Cabrera, paired with Josh Hamilton, would be deadly for the Rangers. They would represent the best one-two combination of sluggers in the league. Both guys are under 30 and could protect each other in the lineup for years.
The Rangers would be favored to win the AL West with this deal. If they could find quality replacements in the middle of the infield, they would pose the biggest immediate threat to the Red Sox in the AL.
Despite Bryce Harper already being anointed the chosen one, this is a deal that I could see the Washington Nationals pulling in a heartbeat.
The Nationals have been intent on trying to put an immediately competitive team on the field. These efforts have been highlighted by the signing of Jayson Werth to a ridiculous $126 million deal.
The addition of Cabrera would give the Nationals a good young nucleus with Werth, Ryan Zimmerman and shortstop Ian Desmond. Cabrera would be an anchor and, unlike Werth, truly be a player the Nationals could build around.
Coupled with Austin Jackson and rising prospect Josh Fields, Harper could give the Tigers potentially one of the best young outfields in baseball a few years down the road. An issue with Harper is that his cocky attitude might not sit well with Tiger fans. Just ask Juan Gonzalez.
It seems like every great player ends up on the Yankees sooner or later, so why not now for Cabrera? The Yankee superstars are all aging and will need to be replaced at some point.
Cabrera would thrive in the current Yankees lineup and give them a centerpiece to build around. It's easy to imagine 40 to 45 homers being his standard in the homertastic New Yankee Stadium. It's hard to imagine Cabrera in the limelight, but he will have former teammate Curtis Granderson there to support him.
The Tigers wouldn't lose a ton offensively but would give up a few years with Mark Teixeira. The real issue with this deal would be extra money that would be paid to a player who will be in his late 30s when the contract expires.
Teixeira makes roughly $3 million a year more than Cabrera, so they would need to throw in a prospect such as Eduardo Nunez to sweeten the deal for the Tigers. Nunez had a brief stint with the Yankees last year and would be the shortstop prospect the Tigers lost when Cale Iorg failed to pan out.
Here is a trade that could work for both teams. It seems the most natural fit of all those proposed.
Milwaukee could replace its dynamic first baseman with an even more dynamic one. The Tigers could acquire a younger hitter who would immediately become a fan favorite because of his immense power and his name.
Cecil Fielder was the only player keeping the Tigers on the MLB map in the '90s thanks to his epic home runs. Little Prince was often in tow back in those days and is familiar with the organization.
Fielder's left-handed bat would fit well in Comerica and with the strong supporting cast around him. It's not hard to imagine that Fielder would repeat his 50-HR performance of 2007. The Tigers have shown a willingness to pay, and it's no doubt they would give Fielder the type of contract he's been requesting.
Cabrera would move to a smaller city and a smaller market with less pressure on him. He would have excellent help in the lineup with proven sluggers like Ryan Braun, Casey McGehee, Corey Hart and Rickie Weeks. Cabrera could thrive in a place like Milwaukee, and the Brewers would definitely be the team to watch in the NL Central.
This is the one that you knew was coming. In what would go down as one of the biggest trades in baseball history, the best current hitter in the game would be traded for the second-best hitter.
There are advantages to this trade for both the Tigers and the Cardinals.
The Cardinals would be acquiring a younger version of Pujols who has been rapidly improving. Most important for the Cardinals would be that Cabrera is already signed until 2015. They would avoid the mess of having to attempt to re-sign their premier player, as is already being played out with Pujols.
Even if they were unable to sign Pujols long-term, the Tigers would acquire the best player in baseball for one dynamic season. For a team that appears to be ready to make a run in their current state, this move could push them over the top and make them the favorites to win the AL Central.
Once in the playoffs, the Tigers would be a very tough matchup for any team with their top-heavy rotation and powerful lineup.