Miguel Cabrera Backs AJ Hinch, Downplays 2017 Astros Scandal: 'That's Bulls--t'

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 16, 2021

Detroit Tigers' Miguel Cabrera runs to first base after singling of New York Yankees starting pitcher Deivi Garcia during the second inning of a spring training exhibition baseball game at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Fla., Tuesday, March 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar
Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

Nearly every member of the 2017 Houston Astros caught heat during the 2020 season for their involvement in a sign-stealing scandal. But as A.J. Hinch, the manager of those Astros, prepares to return in the same capacity for the Detroit Tigers, Miguel Cabrera is coming to his defense. 

"That's bulls--t," Cabrera told Marly Rivera of ESPN. "I don't care about that."

Hinch was suspended for the 2020 season and then fired by the Astros for his failure in oversight as Houston utilized technology and trash cans to alert its hitters to pitches during the 2017 season, which ended with them winning the World Series. 

An MLB investigation found that Hinch knew about the cheating but did not do enough to intervene so that players would stop the practice. No players were suspended in MLB's investigation as part of an agreement to get them to cooperate.

Hinch told ESPN:

"We put ourselves in a situation at the end for it to be really ugly. And we deserved everything that happened. But we did a lot right. We got [an Astros] team from the rebuilding stage all the way to the top for a few years in a row. And the work that the players did, the work that the staff did, the front office, gets a little muddied with the way that it ended. And that's unfortunate. But we have to answer a lot of questions about that entire time because of what we did at the end."

Cabrera, who could join the 3,000-hit and 500-home run clubs this season, has found working with Hinch to be a pleasure thus far.

"He's a really smart guy, a passionate guy," the 37-year-old said. "He's an honest man, a very special man. He knows a lot about baseball. He has great communication with us. I don't care what they did in Houston. He [was] a big part of the success Houston had the last three to five years."

The Tigers have missed the playoffs since 2015 and likely to expect to begin competing again during Hinch's tenure. The 46-year-old joined the Astros that same year, posting five straight winning seasons and a 481-329 record. Houston reached at least the League Championship Series in each of his final three seasons with the franchise and made two World Series appearances. 

Hinch, who caught for Detroit in his penultimate season in 2003, previously managed the Arizona Diamondbacks for parts of two seasons in 2009 and '10.