“Miguel Cabrera is in the best shape of his life. He’s stronger than he’s ever been. And he’s quicker than he’s ever been.”
In other words, Leyland is saying, “Move along, now. Nothing to see here.”
I suppose it’s possible Cabrera is in the best shape ever. It would have been more interesting if Leyland had declared that Cabrera was in the fourth-best shape of his life, but we'll take him at his word. This begs the question, however: What about Cabrera's recent DUI arrest?
“It has no effect. It might make some dramatic reading material. It’s not going to do [anything]. Believe me. Nothing.”
I find that much more difficult to believe. So does Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski, who said "we have an issue here that needs to be addressed and helped -- and we're going to help him. We fully support him in trying to get help. But it also can be tough help sometimes."
Leyland's standing up for his player here; you shouldn't expect anything less. However, Cabrera clearly has a problem with alcohol. How that gets addressed in the coming days and weeks could have a significant impact on Detroit's season, despite Leyland's words to the contrary. More seriously, it's going to have an impact on the career of one of the most talented players in the game.