Cabrera's foot placement? Wow...

As you already know, Cabrera is getting moved to the bullpen for now. (He could be headed to the minors in the near future.) Cabrera told a reporter that he just "discovered" that he has been putting his foot in the wrong position his entire career. Instead of putting his spikes in front of the pitching rubber (like every other pitcher since the Dawn of Mankind), he puts his spikes ON TOP OF the rubber. Huh? And they're just figuring this out now? Wow.

How do you go through 5+ years in the major leagues and not see this basic element of pitching mechanics. It's not like it's a subtle thing that could only be seen with a high-speed camera. Couldn't his coaches in Baltimore see this on regular ol' videotape? What about Manny Acta and Randy St. Claire? They are saying that they will work with Cabrera to correct his pitching form while he is in the bullpen (or the minors). What is there to correct? Tell him to put his foot in front of the rubber and pitch. It's not like changing an arm angle while you're throwing. You are completely stationary when you decide to put your foot on top of the rubber or in front of it. It seems pretty simple to me.

So what does this mean for Cabrera's possible development? An optimist might make the comparison to Cristian Guzman and his eyesight. During his first season in D.C., Guzman failed to tell anyone that he could barely see anything because of uncorrected vision, thus the .219 batting average in 2005. He was injured for all of 2006 but in the 2+ years since then, he has been one of the best hitters for average in the NL. All it took was Lasik eye surgery that finally gave him 20/20 vision again. Could a change of Cabrera's foot placement make as big a difference as the Lasik surgery did for Guzman?

Unfortunately it may not be that simple with Cabrera. He doesn't seem to have any game awareness. He doesn't challenge bottom-of-the-order hitters with men on base when he should know that the other team's bashers are coming up in the inning. He throws too much off-speed stuff for a man with his physical gifts. The guy is 6'9" and 269 lbs. for crying out loud! At one point in his career, he had a fastball in the high 90s, I think. He'll be 28 next week. He should be at his peak in terms of physical strength.

I hope a change of foot position is all it takes but there seems to be too much else going on with Cabrera. Maybe the lack of confidence comes from the instability from putting his foot on top of the rubber. His foot could be slipping, making him unsure about his footing and his mechanics. If that's the case, then the change of position could bolster his confidence and help him to focus on the game situation. Could it really be this easy? Well, if it were, why didn't someone fix this a long time ago? I'll believe it when I see it, although I'm hoping this will be the quick solution to his troubles.

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