by Ross Snow
A year after landing arguably the biggest free agent names, the Detroit Tigers have been relatively quiet this offseason, an act manager Jim Leyland attributes to appeasing his hibernating players.
"It was a long season. After the playoffs ended, the boys just hunkered down and never left the clubhouse," recalled Leyland. "As long as they emerge ready to play by the time the season starts, that's all that matters."
The issue of offseason hibernation is nothing new for Leyland, although this year represents the first time the entire team has participated. Previously, Miguel Cabrera spent his winter sleep in the equipment room.
"Oh yeah, we knew what we were getting with him. Every year the past four years, Miggy increases his fatty meat intake come October before nesting in the batting cages," whispered Leyland, carefully shining a flashlight into the clubhouse window to check on the players. "But this year with everyone together, it's special. It's a team bonding experience. We don't wanna ruin that."
Experts predict if waken from hibernation, the players could become confused, agitated, or even worse – attack.
"We fear that if they awaken, the bigger ones would instinctually fight to protect the smaller ones," said wildlife expert and Detroit Tigers fan, Anthony "T-Bone" Bussa. "Omar Infante would probably be safe, but at what cost?"
While the Tigers haven't been completely quiet this offseason, their signing of 37-year-old right fielder Torii Hunter has luckily garnered very little, if any noise.