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Miguel Cabrera's muscles, Mike Ilitch's health, and the Detroit Tigers' 'fear factor': Morning Prowl

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Miguel Cabrera lost 20-25 pounds in preparation for his move to third base. He looks healthy, happy, and hungry for the 2012 season to begin.
Miguel Cabrera lost 20-25 pounds in preparation for his move to third base. He looks healthy, happy, and hungry for the 2012 season to begin.

The bad news? It's Monday. The good news? We're now only 6 days away from pitchers and catchers.

PHOTO: Miguel Cabrera Has Lost 20-25 Pounds -- SB Nation Detroit, Brian Packey
Go ahead, look at it again. You know you want to.

Drew Sharp: Tigers' four biggest questions before spring training -- Detroit Free Press, Drew Sharp
"The expectations are growing as fast as the season-ticket sales. The higher the Tigers soar, the bigger the bull's-eye on their backs as pitchers, catchers and a certain transplanted first baseman trek toward Lakeland, Fla., later this week."

Detroit Tigers: Final grains of sand -- Detroit Sports 360, Eric Steplitus
A look at Mike Ilitch and whether or not his age -- and possibly deteriorating health -- are the reasons for Prince Fielder's recent signing. You may or may not agree with what Steplitus writes, but it's an interesting read regardless.

Like it or not, Tigers have a fear factor -- The Detroit News, Bob Wojnowski
Great article from Wojo. As good as the Tigers look on paper. And as good as they will hopefully be. There's still that part of you that fears the worst -- failure.

Slight Advantage In AL Central -- Motor City Bengals, Chris Hannum
The Tigers -- and AL Central in general -- have a lot of critics when it comes to ease of schedule and strength of the division. So Hannum set out to see what the American League would look like with one giant division and no unbalanced schedule.

Where does Verlander Rank Among Tigers ERA+ Leaders? -- Tigers Tale, Lee Panas
I don't know about you, but I have a special place in my heart for posts like this. So I think they are fun to include. This one looks at how Verlander stands up against the Tigers all-time ERA+ leaders.

Alex Avila: Pitching key to Tigers' success this year -- Detroit Free Press, Anthony Fenech
"On ESPN's "Baseball Tonight" on Friday, catcher Alex Avila discussed what he thinks needs to happen often this year for the Tigers to meet expectations: consistent play in the field, at the plate and, especially, on the mound."

Brandon Inge Should be the Starting Third Baseman, at Least Against Lefties (and Other Lineup Optimization Scenarios) -- The Tigers Den, Matt Snyder
Matt Snyder says Brandon Inge should be the starting third baseman. But before you roast him, he has a few "only if" situations to go along with that.


Around baseball:

Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Yankees talking A.J. Burnett deal | MLB.com, Bryan Hoch
But, but but ... I want him to face the Tigers in the ALDS again. You know, so Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder can have their way with him.

Minnesota Twins: Small Ball Is Key to Beating the Detroit Tigers | Bleacher Report, Collin Kottke
"No one inside the AL Central is a fan of the Prince Fielder signing except for the Detroit Tigers obviously, but maybe Twins fans should be." I'm going to let Rogo take this one ... (see below)

More Fun With a Minnesota Writer -- DesigNate Robertson
DesigNate Robertson reminds everyone why maybe we shouldn't take Bleacher Report articles too seriously.

Marlins clear Cespedes frontrunner -- The Fish Pond, Joe Frisaro
It wouldn't be a links post without an "update" on Yoenis Cespedes. The Miami Marlins appear to be exchanging contact talks with the 26-year-old Cuban outfielder.

Umpiring School Loses Baseball Relationship Over Behavior at Party - NYTimes.com, Andrew Keh
"Minor League Baseball severed ties with the Jim Evans Academy for Professional Umpiring after learning that employees had dressed up in costumes inspired by the Ku Klux Klan."