February 12th, 2014
Miguel Cabrera has been in Lakeland all week, having reported early to get settled in and get in some early work. He also has been moving around without restriction after recovering from core muscle surgery. What he has not been doing is worrying about his next contract.
When asked if he has talked with his agents about a contract extension, Cabrera said there hasn’t been anything going on. He also said, though, that he isn’t worried about it right now. With two years left on his deal, he said, they have time. At some point, there will be more urgency than this, but not now.
The fact that Cabrera doesn’t seem overly concerned isn’t a bad thing for the Tigers, who have another contract situation they’re trying to handle with Max Scherzer entering his contract year. That doesn’t change the task trying to re-sign Cabrera, the back-to-back American League MVP and three-time reigning AL batting champion who turns 31 years old in April.
The Tigers lost a piece of catching depth Wednesday with Ronny Paulino’s 100-game suspension for exogenous Testosterone, but it wasn’t a big piece.
Considering the inexperience of the surrounding cast, Paulino was veteran insurance. He was once a promising young backstop in Pittsburgh before things went south, until he was mired as a Triple-A backup last summer. The Tigers acquired him from the Orioles organization because Luis Exposito had nailed down the job at Triple-A Norfolk. Exposito is now in the Tigers system, having been signed as a minor-league free agent this offseason. He has the best chance to back up prospect James McCann in Toledo.
Exposito is in big league camp for depth, as is fellow minor-league catching signing Craig Albernaz. The Tigers signed Albernaz from the Rays organization. Paulino’s minor-league deal did not include a camp invite.
Major League Baseball announced Paulino’s suspension Wednesday afternoon. He received a 100-game suspension for a second positive test.