Detroit Tigers designated hitter and part-time first baseman Miguel Cabrera is unquestionably a future first-ballot Hall of Famer.
While his last few years have seemed unimpressive in the stat column, the player is affectionately known as “Miggy” still gave Detroit Tigers fans reasons to roar in 2021.
Who is Miguel Cabrera?
Miguel Cabrera’s fascinating resume reads in part: Two-time Most Valuable Player. Eleven-time all-star. Seven-time silver slugger. Four-time batting champion. 2012 American League triple crown winner. 2003 world champion.
Cabrera’s Tigers tenure began in 2008, making him the longest current tenured roster member by, well, a good amount. He put himself on the map in the years prior to heading to Detroit as a member of the then Florida Marlins. In a blockbuster trade that saw him come to the Motor City with star pitcher Dontrelle Willis, the Tigers proved they were ready to go all in and do what it takes after years of losing. Cabrera went to the World Series with the club in 2012, albeit a losing effort to the San Francisco Giants.
His best statistical season with Detroit came that same season, when he won the MVP award, and led the American League in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in, otherwise known as the aforementioned Triple Crown.
He will most certainly have his number retired when he decides to hang up his cleats, and he will be the last Tiger to don the number 24.
Miguel Cabrera in 2021
A lifetime .310 hitter, Cabrera hit .256 this past season, as his decline in production has been going on for a few years now.
Cabrera provided one of the best moments of the year for the club when he hit his 500th career home run on August 22nd against the Blue Jays in Toronto. This moment reminded Tigers fans of the living legend that Miguel Cabrera is. While he is on the downhill portion of his career, fans were reminded of how great he has truly been on the ball field over his time in Detroit.
Cabrera also had the fans on another milestone watch, that of his eventual 3,000th major league hit, which will most likely come in 2022.
Cabrera spent time between first base and designated hitter this past season. He turned it on later in the year after a very slow start and showed glimpses of the Miggy of old. That being a player who could strike at any moment, carrying the ball club on his back.
Miguel was one of the few veterans on this Tigers club and seems to have the clubhouse under his wing. That’s something extremely valuable for a younger team, and he provided many laughs and leadership along the way.
Along with the .256 average, Cabrera smacked 15 homers and drove in 75 runs.
Injuries were also a cause for concern at times for Miguel. Cabrera spent time on the IL with a left biceps injury and missed some time throughout the season with back and calf injuries. Bicep and leg injuries are unfortunately ailments Cabrera has dealt with on and off for a few years now.
Miguel Cabrera’s Future
Cabrera has two years remaining on the 8 year/248 million dollar extension he signed prior to the 2016 season. This contract is the biggest one on the Tigers payroll, and he is set to earn $32 million in 2022.
The Tigers will definitely keep Cabrera on the roster while he strives for his 3,000th career hit. After that, things seem to be up in the air. The team is looking to be competitive again, and rounding out their roster to make a push for the postseason in earnest for the first time in years.
Cabrera has a limited skill set at this point in his career, but if he can show up in 2022 as even a glimmer of the player that cemented his future in Cooperstown, then he can potentially be in the heart of the order in another pennant race for the Tigers.