I first heard the sad news on ESPN’s Mike and Mike radio show, that five time All-Star, Miguel Cabrera was arrested and charges for a DWI down in Port St. Lucie, FL. Here is the story from the Associated Press.
Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera charged with DUI in Fla.
The Associated Press
Thursday, February 17, 2011; 8:51 AM
FORT PIERCE, Fla. — Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera has been arrested on drunken driving charges in Florida.
The St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office says the 27-year-old’s car engine was smoking alongside a road late Wednesday when a deputy spotted the vehicle.
According to the arrest report, Cabrera smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech and took a swig from a bottle of scotch in front of a deputy.
Police say Cabrera repeatedly refused to cooperate, saying, “Do you know who I am, you don’t know anything about my problems.”
In 2009, the All-Star first baseman got into a fight with his wife after a night of drinking, right before his team surrendered the American League Central Division title to the Twins.
Cabrera posted $1,350 bond and was released Thursday.
From messy negotiations with the Captain; to ace Cliff Lee choosing brotherly love over the big apple; to waving goodbye to one of the Core Four; the New York Yankees off-season seemed to be in the news for all the wrong reasons.
The only legit move was signing reliever Rafael Soriano, but even that became a soap opera, as the Yankees GM Brian Cashman publicly disagreed with ownership.
Oh, let’s not forget what we learned about Alex Rodriguez, he is a want-a-be jet setter, who cannot feed himself; he picks and flicks, but don’t worry he still likes blonde actresses. Let’s all hope A-rod can deal with playing baseball again.
The off-season ended on a sad note, as Andy Pettitte hung-up his gloves on February 4th at Yankee Stadium. Pettitte is still a top of the rotation ace, was loved in the clubhouse and was a fan favorite. Yankee fans can only wish Pettitte all the best.
Now with the Yankees officially in Spring Training, it’s time to get to work. With the moves implemented by Boston’s GM Theo Epstein, the Red Sox are heavily favored to not only win the AL East, but also a shoe-inn to be playing in 2011 World Series.
Though Yankee Universe got a reality check this off-season, it is not as if the team now can’t play baseball. Most teams would be happy to have the same ‘problems’ of the Yankees, as the team is still one of the best.
Just look at the whose returning to the Yankees line-up from 2010, Jeter, Granderson, Teixeira, A-rod, Cano, Posada, Swisher, and Gardner. It includes four All-Stars, three Gold Glovers and one Silver Slugger recipient.
In 2010, with chiefly the same group, the Yankees posted a 97-67 record. The bats led the majors in RBIs with 832, On Base Percentage with .350 and had the most runs with 859. Add that to coming in third with 802 home-runs, came in second in walks with 662 and ranked fourth in baseball for total bases and slugging percentage.
To have those numbers in a season where the Captain was off, Granderson was on the DL for almost two months and our best hitter A-rod still wasn’t fully cleared from hip surgery is pretty darn good.
Last season, Gardner and Swisher proved there worth by stepping it up when the team struggled and look for both to continue.
The glue of the line-up was Robinson Cano, who finally broke out and showed everyone that he is as good as scouts predicted. Cano should win his second Silver Slugger in 2011, and after coming in second for 2010 MVP, look for him to win it in 2011.
Jeter and Granderson finished the season like themselves, and A-rod finally got cleared this past June to be able to workout without any hesitations.
So, with virtually the same line-up, and an upgrade of what fans hope will be touted prospect Jesus Montero taking the empty spot in the line-up. Andruw Jones will fill in as part-time DH, which adds up to a Bombers line-up that is going to be better than last season.
The clubs clear other strength came against GM Cashman’s better judgment, as Hal and Hank Steinbrenner overrode him to sign the best closer from 2010 Rafael Soriano. Soriano is more than happy to move from closer to set-up for, as he knows what an honor setting up for the great-one Mariano Rivera will be.
Rivera signature cutter still mystifies batters after 16 seasons. Rivera is 41-years-old but showed no reason for concern really at all. Still, having Soriano ready just in case was a brilliant call that would make the Boss very proud of his sons.
Add in Pedro Feliciano from the Mets and the returns of David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain, Boone Logan and Sergio Mitre and this is easily the best bullpen on paper in the division. A solid bullpen is a team’s icing on the cake. The importance of relief pitchers cannot be overstated because fact is they are game changers.
The rotation is steered by ace CC Sabathia, who has been practically perfect since arriving in the Bronx in 2009. Sabathia has been one of the best pitchers in baseball for all 10-seasons of his career, named to four All-Star teams, winning the 2007 Cy Young, while finishing second in 2008 and last season.
Sabathia is an innings eater, goes deep into games and posted 197 strikeouts in each of the last two seasons. He dropped 25+ pound during the off-season, which should only make the 6’7 Sabathia even better.
Following CC is Phil Hughes who defied odds during his first season as a starter. Hughes won 18 games, with 146 strikeouts over 177 innings pitched. It earned Hughes his first of many All-Star appearances.
Once again the guys over at BallHyped.com have outdone themselves by putting together a 208-page book featuring the best sports blogs from 2010.
“BallHyped.com Best Sports Blogs of 2010 Book”appeals to any sports fan because it is so diverse and covers all sports from every angle. It is a table book, so it will go great on a coffee table or a bookshelf.
So, Epstein made the Red Sox the unmistakable winners this off-season, by signing LF Carl Crawford and trading than signing 1B Adrian Gonzalez, two of the best players in the game.
Crawford and Gonzalez’s paychecks for bringing their talents to Boston for the next seven years are $142 and $154 million bucks respectively. That is a lot of coin, but both players are well worth the money. Guess the Yankees now share the evil empire, with an evil nation.
Signing Crawford and initially trading for Gonzalez made an already substantial line-up into a lethal one. Last season, the Red Sox hit the second most homeruns in the Majors with 211 and led the AL with 358 doubles.
Expect these numbers to grow, as Gonzalez will be hitting in batter friendly Fenway Park. This is heaven compared to his old stomping ground of Petco in San Diego, where Gonzalez went yard 31 times in 2010 and posted 40 homers just a year earlier.
Crawford retains all the tools, as a hitter, as a defender and is just in his prime at 28-years-old. Crawford’s speed is undeniable, with a career average of 54 stolen bases and posting 47 total last season.
Add the swiftness of a healthy Pedroia and Ellsbury who stole 70 bases in 2009, the Red Sox surely won’t be ranking 12th in steals in the AL like last year, with a team total of 68.
Don’t forget that the two newest Red Sox join a line-up that includes David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis, JD Drew, Pedroia and Ellsbury, which gives skipper Terry Francona lots of choices.
Speaking of Francona, he is one of the paramount skippers in the game. Francona has a fantastic report with his players, but they respect him even more. After what Francona did with his injury ridden team in 2010 just certifies what we already know, that the Red Sox are in some good hands.
Boston’s starting rotation has a one-two punch of 27-year-old Jon Lester and 26-year-old Clay Buchholz, who both verified their worth in 2010. Buchholz pitched just shy of 174 innings, posting a 2.33 ERA; and Lester had a 3.25 ERA, with 225 strikeouts over 208 innings pitched.
Epstein also added needed depth to the Red Sox’s bullpen by picking up Dan Wheeler and Bobby Jenkins.
What didn’t, excuse me couldn’t Epstein not achieve this off-season?
Pretty much nothing because he took a great team and made them even better. This is stuff of a GM-Genius, but the Red Sox owners deep pockets help a little too.
Even with as much ‘wow-factor’ as the 2011 Red Sox radiate, it doesn’t exempt them from having areas of concern.
Epstein and Francona’s primary worry has to be the decline of closer Jonathan Papelbon, who lead the league with eight blown saves last season, which equaled his 2008-09 numbers combined.
The once dependable Papelbon has to prove himself reliable again, as any team without a dominant closer will have serious problems, especially in the AL East.