Nick Madrigal is a rookie. Miguel Cabrera is a future Hall of Famer. So Cabrera wasn't having it when he heard the White Sox second baseman accuse the Tigers of stealing signs on the bases in Detroit's 5-2 win over Chicago Tuesday night.
According to Cabrera, Madrigal said Tigers' base-runners were relaying signs between White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal and pitcher Lucas Giolito to their teammates at the plate. Cabrera, who hit a solo homer off Giolito in the first, began jawing with Madrigal two at-bats later when Robbie Grossman was on second.
"It was the second baseman. He tried to tell the catcher and the pitcher that we passed the signs. I mean, come on, that’s some bullsh*t. I don’t play that game," Cabrera said Wednesday prior to game two of the series. "You need to respect the game. You don’t need to show up me or the runner on second, trying to say we passed the sign from second. Come on, get the fu*k out of here."
Given the history of Tigers manager A.J. Hinch, who presided over the Astros during their infamous sign-stealing scandal, opposing players might be wary of his new team.
Hinch said Wednesday he "didn't think anything of" the situation until Cabrera brought it up with reporters, adding, "It wasn’t an issue before, I don’t know why it would be an issue now."
"It was never discussed or anything like that, but Miggy’s got a big voice and he has an opinion about it. I think players should handle that stuff," Hinch said.
When it was suggested to Cabrera that Madrigal and the White Sox were likely acting with Hinch in mind, he replied, "I don't care why they're doing it. But they need to stop because we don’t play that game. That’s why I said something to him right away."
Cabrera said he confronted the situation in the moment in hopes of preventing the Tigers from facing retaliation at the plate on Wednesday.
"Everybody is paranoid about (sign-stealing) right now, but (the White Sox) are over the limit," he said. "They need to respect that. If we didn’t say that, the next day we’re going to be hit by a pitch or something like that. And we don’t play that game, we respect the game."
Hinch called Cabrera, an 11-time All-Star and 19-year vet, one of the "key pieces in our game" and said, "We'll have Miggy's back for sure." Just like Cabrera had Hinch's back against claims of a tainted title in Houston.
"He’s got a big voice and obviously he has the right, and quite honestly we need him to voice it whenever he sees fit," said Hinch.