Baseball at its very core is a business.
While the NBA and NFL are scrambling to keep their leagues from going to a labor dispute this off-season, MLB is a ticking time bomb waiting to go off. Major League sports as a whole continue to be riddled with controversy and turmoil.
While Miguel Cabrera’s predicament remains a personal and highly volatile situation, the fact remains that he is a high-priced commodity that baseball cannot afford to have explode. He may be a human in need of a great deal of support and help, but he’s still a $100 million-plus object to the Tigers and to baseball in general. There is no easy way to handle a player who was handed that much financial and media leverage. His every move at this point is a direct reflection on the Tigers and the league.
In Cabrera’s corner is his major league family, but especially a number of individuals in contract years of their own.
GM Dave Dombrowski and Manager Jim Leyland are potentially in their last years representing the Tigers. While Dombrowski and Leyland have been overall praised for the work they’ve done with the ball club, 2006 was still five years ago and the team has greatly underachieved since. The 2009 end-of-season swoon will also not be forgotten when both individuals have their careers placed into perspective this off-season.
For Dombrowski and Leyland, their excitement going into this season may have been tempered by the recent sobering news about Cabrera. If they need to win now, losing one of baseball’s top five hitters for any period of time stings and could become a concern to an otherwise shaky lineup.
With aging veterans and unproven commodities (Boesch, Jackson, Worth, etc.) with relatively little time under their belts, Detroit, and especially GM Dombrowski and Jim Leyland, must hope that they get the right mix of players combined with their big slugger to make a run at the club’s first AL Central crown.
The fate of many rest on the shoulders of Miguel Cabrera and the mess he has created — least of which is the loyal Tigers fans who have already given him one major pass. For the sake of everyone involved, let’s hope he is able to get his act together. There is a tremendous amount at stake for all of us who love baseball in Detroit. Just like the game of baseball itself, this is serious business.