Looking back at Miguel Cabrera's first year with the Detroit Tigers

We start Miggy Month with a look back at his very first season in Detroit.
Tampa Bay Rays v Detroit Tigers
Tampa Bay Rays v Detroit Tigers / Mark Cunningham/GettyImages

Welcome to the very first article of Miggy Month here at Motor City Bengals. This month, we are going over some of Miguel Cabrera's best moments in a Detroit Tigers uniform. And what a better way to kick things off than where it all started.

Cabrera was traded to the Tigers along with Dontrelle Willis at the Winter Meetings in 2007. It was a trade that shocked the baseball world at the time. Cabrera was a 24-year-old underrated star for the then-Florida Marlins, and he was coming off a 5-WAR season. The Marlins got a what seemed like a good prospect haul at the time in return in Andrew Miller, Cameron Maybin, and Mike Rabelo.

Little did they know, they would end up parting with a future hall-of-famer.

The 2008 season saw a ton of optimism in Detroit. They were heavy favorites in the AL Central. While it didn't work out for them in the end, Miggy still had a pretty good season himself.

He certainly made quite the first impression. On Opening Day against the Royals, he homered in his third at-bat.

"He's heeeeeere!" #OTD in 2008, Miguel Cabrera hit his first home run as a Tiger.

Posted by Detroit Tigers on Friday, March 31, 2023

It even looked like he was trying to call time before he hit it out. The Tigers would go on to lose this game, but his impact was already being felt.

Unfortunately, that impact was being felt in more ways than one — and not always in a good way. He started out the 2008 season as a third baseman — and not a good one. He committed three errors in his first five games. The Tigers saw enough of him at the position to make a change.

He made his first start at first base on April 12, 2008, and that's where he played for the majority of his career from that point on. Overall, he made five errors in 14 games at third base, compared to nine errors in 143 games in first base. With the way things were going, it's safe to say he would have made a lot more miscues had he stayed at the hot corner.

However, at the plate, there was little issue. He was hitting for contact and power. After a good first half in which he hit 16 homers with an .837 OPS, he turned it on in second half, hitting .302 with 21 homers and a .951 OPS. This includes 10 home runs in the month of August.

He was also the AL Player of the Month in July, hitting .330 with eight bombs. On Sept. 7, he recorded his 1,000th career hit against the Twins. His storied Tigers career was just beginning.

Miggy would finish the 2008 season with a then-career-high 37 homers, a then-career-high 127 RBI, and slashed .292/.349/.537 and a 129 wRC+. It was clear that he was going to be a difference-maker for years to come.

What we saw in 2008 was just a taste of what we would see for the next several years. It's crazy to think that he was just 25 years old at the time. What a treat he's been. Us Tigers fans have really been spoiled over the years.

Next. Detroit Tigers Prospects: Wenceel Perez keeps marching toward debut. Detroit Tigers Prospects: Wenceel Perez keeps marching toward debut. dark