Things were looking really positive in the opening days of spring training. The Tigers had a productive off-season, most of the key players were reportedly in good health and all seemed well in Lakeland. That all changed this morning when Miguel Cabrera was arrested for Driving Under the Influence of alcohol.
This is the second major incident involving Cabrera, the other one being the notorious confrontation with his wife occurring at the end of the 2009 season. In today's arrest, he was reportedly uncooperative and confrontational with police and even continued to drink in front of the officers as he was being arrested. This is a drinking problem that probably requires intervention and we can only hope he gets help at some point.
Unfair or not, the biggest concern for baseball fans is how his problems will affect his ability to play baseball. It sure doesn't seem as if it has hurt him as a player to this point. All you have to do is look at his numbers to see that. If he hits .328 and slugs 38 home runs again next year, most of us will forget about his drinking incidents. You've got to think think that it could get to him eventually though and prevent him from having a long career.
How will the Tigers deal with it? Will they suspend him? Require him to go to rehabilitation? It seems unlikely that they'll let their star hitter and $20 million man miss much time, if any. Of immediate concern is whether this latest incident could be a distraction to a team that seemed to have a lot of good things going for it this spring.
Instead of hearing reports on the second base battle or whether Brad Penny and Phil Coke can fill out the rotation, all we are going to hear about is Cabrera's drinking problem all spring. Hopefully, that's the worst that comes out of this.