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Dave Dombrowski on Miguel Cabrera: “We have an issue”

Feb 17, 2011, 4:57 PM EDT

Miguel Cabrera

Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski spoke with the media about the Miguel Cabrera situation just after 4 p.m. today.  The highlights:

  • Dombrowski has spoke with Cabrera today. Cabrera was “down, feels bad and was apologetic”;
  • Dombrowski said “We have an issue here that needs to be addressed and helped”;
  • Dombrowski expects Cabrera to join the club soon, but he’s not exactly sure when.  First position player workouts are Saturday;
  • Dombrowski was asked if he was disappointed in Cabrera, but he wouldn’t comment on that.

Cabrera won’t be disciplined by Major League Baseball over all of this because there isn’t a mechanism for baseball to do anything about criminal stuff that doesn’t involve the game.  The focus of all of this going forward, then, must necessarily be on Cabrera’s health and obvious alcohol problem.  If you’re Dave Dombrowski, you have to weight sending Cabrera to some sort of treatment program.  Or, you have to wonder whether it’s better to get him back into baseball activities — a routine and physical conditioning that makes drinking harder for him –paired up with in-camp counseling.

No easy answers, of course. And it’s certainly the case that the person who is best positioned to help Miguel Cabrera is … Miguel Cabrera.

  1. The Baseball Idiot - Feb 17, 2011 at 5:00 PM

    Do you know the law on this? Can employers make an employee go to rehab as a condition of their employement, if it is affecting their job performance?

    And if Cabrera doesn’t go, could he be in violation of his contract?

    • bigharold - Feb 17, 2011 at 5:42 PM

      I don’t know about the “real world” but I’d guess the ML players union wouldn’t allow the Tigers to force him to do anything. Which on some level is too bad.

      If all he does is squander his baseball career and the accompanying fortune it would be bad enough. Clearly Cabrera needs help but, unless and until he see it that way even forcing him would likely be a waste of time.

      It would be nice if somebody could help him before he blew his chance at MLB and I think the union should be very proactive in that effort. It’d be better if they figured out a way to help him before he hurt or killed someone.

  2. largebill - Feb 17, 2011 at 5:07 PM


    Are you sure there is no recourse for MLB in this case? They do have a substance abuse policy, alcohol is a substance and I think a reasonable case can be made that he abused that substance. Beyond that, unless I’m mistaken, didn’t he already attend some kind of alcohol treatment program?

    • seeingwhatsticks - Feb 17, 2011 at 7:13 PM

      Come on, no one treats alcohol as a substance of abuse in cases like this. Doesn’t matter that more people abuse alcohol than every controlled substance combined, which is too bad because alcoholics are far more likely to harm others than most drug addicts.

  3. jamie54 - Feb 17, 2011 at 5:15 PM

    NFL has Goodell dishing out punishment why can’t MLB do the same? He needs to get punished in the pocketbook. He’s only sorry since he got caught otherwise we’d have never heard about it.

    • bigharold - Feb 17, 2011 at 5:54 PM

      Because the baseball players union is ten times more effective than the football players union. This is evidenced by the MLB players union has never lost a fight with their owners. The only serious concession they given the owners in the last 30 years was the PED testing and even that wasn’t until after some very dramatic and heart rendering testimony by parents of kids that committed suicide where the blame was placed on steroids. The union was afraid if they didn’t give a little Congress would pass laws that would be even more stringent along with draconian penalties for thise caught. And, considering how screwed up that got with names being leaked of the 2003 “survey” test I wouldn’t count on MLB players union to be so amenable in the future.

      Contrast that with the NFL players union who are about to get locked out, .. again.

  4. trevorb06 - Feb 17, 2011 at 5:19 PM

    Dombrowski should really try to talk to Ron Washington about how they help Josh Hamilton, maybe even see if Hamilton would be willing to have a player to player talk with Miggy. Guys usually are open to that sort of thing. They’re all in the game together.

    • seattlej - Feb 17, 2011 at 5:34 PM

      I don’t think that comments from somebody else will really work for people with substance abuse problems… at least not anyone that he doesn’t know at a very personal level (wife, children, etc.). I think the motivation needs to be intrinsic. I’m certainly no expert, but from the reports it seems that Hamilton hit a point that was about as low as a person can go and still make a full recovery. I’m guessing that that’s where a lot of his motivation comes from. Hopefully Cabrera doesn’t need to hit the same low point before he wakes up and gets the issue under control.

      • bloodysock - Feb 17, 2011 at 5:44 PM

        Agree. How many people do you think talked to Steve Howe?

      • seeingwhatsticks - Feb 17, 2011 at 7:24 PM

        Agreed. Had friends that had serious drug problems and no amount of talking or threatening or rehab will do any good until the individual decides for themselves that they have a problem and want to fix it. As a friend you can either take them as they are or walk away and hope they get the message and clean themselves up. Forcing someone into rehab might help in the short term but that person will relapse and go right back to what they were doing until they decide they don’t want to be like that any more.

        I hate blaming the media or the teams or the leagues for the problems of individuals but it really doesn’t help send the message that alcohol addiction is a problem when the two biggest advertisers in this country are alcohol producers and car manufacturers. Every sports stadium and arena in the country is plastered with beer ads, and every game you watch is filled with commercials for alcohol. We joke a lot about drinking in this country and laugh a lot of the problem off but like I said up above alcoholics are more likely to cause physical harm to other people than any other kind of addict. And it’s not close.

  5. bloodysock - Feb 17, 2011 at 5:26 PM

    Arrest affidavit:

  6. seattlej - Feb 17, 2011 at 5:30 PM

    Considering that Cabrera being involved in “baseball activities” didn’t really work all that well the last time he fell off the wagon, I’d have to guess that they need to think hard about rehab. He also seems like the kind of talent that can show up on opening day without much preparation and be fine in a baseball sense. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

  7. Jonny 5 - Feb 18, 2011 at 8:29 AM

    I’m sure somewhere in the signed union agreement as well as the player contract,comitting crimes involving alcohol/drug abuse clauses exist. If not, in some other language then. In other words, I’m pretty sure there is some sort of contractual leverage that the team will have in this case. Behavior unbecoming etc… Could they DL him if he doesn’t comply?

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