White Sox-Tigers: Miguel Cabrera irked by sign-stealing warning

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Vinnie Duber
·3 min read
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Sox-Tigers: Madrigal's sign-stealing warning irks Miggy originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Miguel Cabrera is closing in on 500 career home runs. But he also had his sights on a certain member of the White Sox infield Tuesday night.

A day after his Detroit Tigers scored a comeback win over the White Sox, the future Hall of Famer shared his frustration with second baseman Nick Madrigal, who he was exchanging words with during Tuesday's game.

According to Cabrera, who spoke to Detroit reporters Wednesday, Madrigal issued a warning to his teammates, pitcher Lucas Giolito and catcher Yasmani Grandal, that the Tigers might be trying to steal signs with a runner on second base. Cabrera didn't like the suggestion and let Madrigal know about it, before relaying his feelings during his media session.

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"It was the second baseman. He tried to tell the catcher and the pitcher we were passing signs. I mean, come on. That's bullshit. I don't play that game," Cabrera said. "You need to respect. You don't need to show up me or somebody or the runner on second trying to say we passed the signs from second. Come on. Get the f--k out of here.

"I don't care why they do it, but they need to stop that because we don't play that game. That's why I said something to him right away.

"Everybody's paranoid about all that stuff right now. They're over the limit. They need to respect, because if they say that, the next day there's going to be a hit by pitch or something like that, and we don't play that game. We respect the game."

Sign-stealing remains a pretty big topic in baseball just a year after the league found that the Houston Astros had an elaborate sign-stealing apparatus in place during their run to a World Series championship in 2017. In the fallout, manager A.J. Hinch was suspended for the entire 2020 season and fired from his post as the skipper in Houston. Hinch is now managing Cabrera and the Tigers.

White Sox manager Tony La Russa was asked about the situation before Wednesday's game, and he talked about the respect that Cabrera has earned throughout his illustrious major league career — while also saying that it's part of Madrigal's job to be vigilant.

"Miguel is a guaranteed Hall of Famer," La Russa said. "He's earned the respect, and if he says he's not getting help from second base, then he's not getting it.

"But we do encourage our middle infielders to actively be guarding because that is a ridiculously popular thing to do now, for a long time, whether it's signs that you've learned over your study or tipping location, which is OK because that's part of the game.

"So my point is, if Nick was actively defending against that, then I'm all for it. But I give Miguel the respect he deserves. If he says he doesn't get signs, then he doesn't get them."

It's certainly possible that Madrigal's warning was a regular one, a reminder that with a runner on second — regardless of the team the White Sox are playing — his teammates should take extra precautions to prevent their signals from being deciphered. As La Russa mentioned, runners on second figuring out signs passed from catcher to pitcher has been part of baseball for decades.

But with the advent of electronically aided sign-stealing, "paranoia," as Cabrera put it, is understandable.

So was it preparation or accusation? We'll have to wait to hear from Madrigal. But Cabrera wasn't happy with what went down, another element added to this division rivalry.

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