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Detroit Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera among baseball players with plenty to prove

By NOAH TRISTER
AP Baseball Writer
Few players have been as consistently excellent at the plate as Miguel Cabrera in his prime.
That seems like a long time ago now.
Cabrera hit only 12 home runs last season and has just 31 over the past three years. He’ll turn 37 in April, and there are plenty of indications that the Detroit star is in the middle of a protracted decline. From 2005-13, Cabrera batted at least .320 eight times in nine seasons — and hit at least 30 home runs in all but one year.
At this point, the Tigers would probably settle for a 20-homer season and an average around .300. That would be a step up from last year, but it remains to be seen if Cabrera — whose big contract lasts until at least 2023 — is capable of halting this slide in production.
Cabrera is one of a handful of players around baseball with a lot to prove this year.
Among the others are Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Jose Ramirez of the Cleveland Indians, Edwin Diaz of the New York Mets, Khris Davis of the Oakland A’s, Trevor Bauer of the Cincinnati Reds and Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros.
Bregman may face extra scrutiny after his team lingers under the cloud of the sign-stealing scandal.