Detroit Tigers: Miguel Cabrera is already a lock for the Hall of Fame

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers is already a lock to go to the Hall of Fame. The next question is where he will rank among the all-time greats.

With the Baseball Hall of Fame set to announce its election results on Tuesday, it’s a great time to also examine who among existing players could gain election someday. The Detroit Tigers have a strong candidate in Miguel Cabrera. In fact, it’s likely not a question of whether he’ll get in, but now it’s where he will someday rank among the all-time greats.

As Cabrera will turn 37 in April, the numbers he’s put up in his career are astounding: 2,815 hits, 477 home runs, 1,694 RBIs, 577 doubles, 1,135 walks, and a career .935 OPS. He’s an 11-time All-Star, has placed in MVP voting 14 times (including winning it twice), and is still not done. He still has a great chance to become the seventh player all-time with 3,000 hits and 500 home runs.

We know that Cabrera has been slowed by injuries late in his career, and he’s likely not going to return to the player that he was in his prime. Yet he still has more room to add to his impressive resume and place himself in elite company in MLB history. Among players who primarily played first base in their careers, according to Baseball Reference, Cabrera ranks 12th in WAR at 69.6.

The average Hall of Famer at the position is 66.8. Cabrera has a realistic chance to climb as high as eighth, past Johnny Mize, Rafael Palmeiro, Jim Thome, and Frank Thomas. Cabrera’s 79.0 offensive WAR ranks eighth all-time, and he has a good chance to crack the top five in that category.

Cabrera has received his share of criticism in recent years, both for off-the-field issues and for his declining performance in spite of the fact that he’s signed for big money for another six seasons. Indeed, it hasn’t been easy to watch his decline in recent years. Yet, if he can recover and have a couple more solid seasons, we’ll be talking about Cabrera as an all-time elite player when he does get the call from Cooperstown, which should be exactly five years after he retires. Tigers fans should be grateful that they got to see it all unfold for well over a decade.

Next. Detroit Tigers: Ben Zobrist would be a great addition for rebuilding team. dark