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Cabrera’s wife filed for divorce on eve of ’17 season

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Miguel Cabrera’s wife of 15 years filed for divorce just prior to the start of the 2017 baseball season, another off-field distraction the Tigers’ superstar slugger was facing as he struggled through the worst year of his professional career.

Rosangel Cabrera filed the dissolution-of-marriage paperwork March 17, saying the relationship is “irretrievably broken,” and Cabrera agreed in his response dated April 18. This is according to court documents obtained by The Detroit News from the Miami-Dade County Civil, Family and Probate Courts system.

It wasn’t immediately clear where the proceedings stand, though a final hearing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Monday before Judge Abby Cynamon in Miami. An attorney for Rosangel Cabrera declined comment. Cabrera is listed as not having an attorney of record, after his attorney filed to withdraw from the case earlier this month. A message left with his previous attorney has not been returned.

In her initial petition, Rosangel Cabrera seeks child support, alimony and equitable distribution of assets, as well as “a mutually acceptable time-sharing schedule” with the children. The Cabreras have three young children, ages 12, 7 and 6.

This discovery comes days after The News reported Cabrera, 34, was being sued by a Florida woman claiming he’s not paying enough child support for two children he fathered with her in 2013 and 2015. That case is headed for a mediation hearing Wednesday in Orlando, as the woman, Belkis Mariela Rodriguez, seeks an increase from the money he’s been paying — more than $6,200 a month, according to the court documents. Rodriguez’s lawyer has argued she’s had to borrow money every month, trying to keep up a nearly $1-million Orlando home, which Cabrera helped her purchase in the spring.

More: Florida woman hits Cabrera with child-support suit

Cabrera’s legal team in that case has argued Rodriguez, 35, is not entitled to the money that Florida statute seems to suggest — potentially more than $100,000 a month — just because he’s had the good fortune to earn hundreds of millions of dollars in his career, with $184 million still owed to him by the Tigers through the 2023 season.

Lawyers for Cabrera and Rodriguez in that case — different lawyers than those listed in the Cabreras’ divorce proceedings — have declined comment when contacted by The News, and the Tigers haven’t responded to request for comment.

All this courtroom drama has been playing out as Cabrera endured the worst season of a career that should one day land him in Baseball’s Hall of Fame. Cabrera suffered a back injury during spring training, and was never fully healthy during the 2017 season. Cabrera batted just .249 with 16 home runs and 60 RBIs in 130 games. His career averages for a full season during his 15-year career are a .323 batting average, 33 home runs and 115 RBIs.

During the season, Cabrera acknowledged the back was a big reason behind his miserable season — offseason surgery on two herniated disks is possible, but possibly unnecessary — and he also suggested his mind often was on the strife in his home country of Venezuela, where he has said he fears for the safety of family members.

Miguel Cabrera and Rosangel Fatima, 34, married June 18, 2002, in his hometown of Maracay, Venezuela, a year and two days before he made his major-league debut. They live in a $6-million, five-bedroom, four-bathroom house in Miami Beach, Fla., and have a home in Metro Detroit, as well.

More: Read court documents in Cabrera's child-support suit

Cabrera’s wife has kept a low-profile in the public, as her husband rose to superstardom, first with the Florida Marlins, then with the Tigers, who traded for him in a blockbuster deal after the 2007 season.

One of the few times her name appeared in headlines came late in the 2009 season, when, after a night of drinking with players on the Chicago White Sox, Cabrera returned home intoxicated and got into a physical altercation with Rosangel. She called police early that morning, he was taken to a Birmingham police station, and then-general manager Dave Dombrowski had to pick him up.

Miguel and Rosangel both had marks on their faces, but both refused medical attention and no charges were filed.

Cabrera had another alcohol-related incident on his way to spring training in 2011, and he was arrested for drunken driving. Cabrera sought help for alcohol addiction after that incident, and the Tigers stuck with him. He won the Most Valuable Player Award and Triple Crown in 2012, and a second consecutive MVP Award in 2013.

After the Tigers clinched the division championship in 2012, Cabrera stayed out of the locker room as his teammates and coaches sprayed each other with champagne.