This is an issue that goes back to the 2012 MLB playoffs. We heard a little bit of it then, but now Tigers' relief pitcher and veteran Octavio Dotel is once again calling out Miguel Cabrera for not being a leader in the Tigers clubhouse. There is no question the Tiger need some veteran leadership to step up and help guide this team, but one has to wonder if that is Cabrera's place or not. More to the point is that a role Caber himself would be comfortable with?
Dotel said this to Yahoo! Sports:
Miggy's more about his game. I don't see him as a leader.
Dotel would go on to tell a writer from Yahoo! Sports:
(He) felt Miggy should have taken the role as off-the-field leader as their team slipped during it’s failed 2012 postseason run.
There is also a report that Dotel asked Cabrera to hold a players only meeting before the decisive game five against the Oakland Athletics in the ALDS.
More disturbing is a quote Yahoo Sports obtained from the Tigers clubhouse:
There isn't really a vocal leader in our clubhouse.
Given the size of the payroll and two other players beyond Cabrera (Prince Fielder and Justin Verlander) who will likely be Hall of Famers one day the lack of clubhouse leadership is very disturbing.
The 1984 Detroit Tigers had a lot of talent, but we can argue that they did not have this collection of talent, but they had one thing that this team does not. They had strong leadership from their players. Jack Morris, Kirk Gibson, and in other ways Alan Trammell were respected players and leaders and may be the X factor why that roster was able to win a World Series title and to this point the current Tigers roster has not.
The simple fact here is this roster has lost some of the fire and player leadership it once had in guys like Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen. Now it is time for one of the other veterans, stars, or someone to step up and take on this role. It does not have to be one of the big three, think about the Detroit Red Wings of the late 1990's. Steve Yzerman was the nice guy leader in public and Darren McCarty was the guy with the fire who led the team in the dressing room.