The Detroit Tigers are in the early stages of an exciting rebuilding process under the leadership of new manager AJ Hinch. After finishing last four of the last six seasons in the Central American League, the Tigers have capitalized on their strong positions in the draft. In the last three drafts of Major League Baseball Rule 4, the Tigers have twice selected the first overall (2018, 2020) and fifth (2019) in the first round. They also own the third pick in this year’s draft where a thrilling right-handed Vanderbilt University pitching duo, Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker, could be possible options for the Tigers.
According to MLB pipeline Top 100 in the 2021 hopefuls standings, the Tigers have five top 25 prospects, led by third / first baseman Spencer Torkelson (3rd). He is joined on this prestigious list by outfielder Riley Greene (21st), Casey Mize pitchers (11e), Tarik Skubal (24 years olde) and Matt Manning (25e). The Tigers are in a period of transition with a strong emphasis on youth, but nostalgia will be a running theme throughout the season thanks to Miguel Cabrera.
Two-time American League MVP (2012, 2013) and Triple Crown Award winner (2012), Cabrera is in the twilight of his stellar career while approaching 3,000 hits and 500 home runs. As he enters his 38-year-old season, Cabrera could be the first ball player to achieve the two monumental achievements in the same season according to the MLB network. He’s 134 hits from 3000 and needs 13 homers to hit 500.
Cabrera would only be the seventh ball player in baseball history to reach both milestones according to Stathead Baseball. Enthusiasm builds for what could be a magical and historic season for Cabrera. He also has additional opportunities to further solidify his case as one of the greatest right-handed hitters in baseball history. At the end of the season, it’s entirely possible that Cabrera has also surpassed 1,500 points, 1,750 points scored, 5,000 total goals, 600 doubles and 2,500 games played according to Baseball-Reference.com.
Cabrera is no longer the ball player who, at the height of his career (28-32 seasons), sowed fear in the hearts of pitchers because of his extraordinary ability to strike for average and power. He has slowed down considerably, with the 2016 season being the last time he played more than 140 ball games. Cabrera also suffered groin and hamstring injuries from a ruptured left bicep tendon in the 2018 season. He became a full-time designated hitter and last played on the field. as a first baseman on June 18, 2019.
While the Tigers are deeply invested in developing young ballers for the future, Cabrera is in inheritance mode with a contract that has become a financial albatross. It’s like the Tigers and Cabrera are moving at two different speeds but coexisting peacefully. His eight-year, $ 248 million contract spans the 2023 season. The Tigers hold a $ 30 million club option ($ 8 million buyout) for the 2024 season and a $ 30 million club option. dollars for the 2025 season according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts.
Cabrera is expected to earn $ 30 million in base salary for the 2021 season with a competitive balancing tax salary of $ 29.2 million. According to Spotrac, his base salary is 41.43% of the 2021 Tigers’ payroll. If Cabrera finishes in the top 10 votes for the American League’s Most Valuable Player award in 2023 and 2024, the options become guaranteed in the contract. The last time Cabrera achieved this feat was in 2016, when he was tied for ninth in the vote with former Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor.
The Detroit Tigers are heading in the right direction, but it will likely take time and patience. They are assembling a treasure trove of much-loved prospects, but won’t be ready to seriously compete for the Central American League title for at least a few seasons. It is likely that the Tigers will become a competitive ball club once Miguel Cabrera’s contract ends after the 2023 season. As he pursues several historic milestones this season, let’s savor every moment and start collecting our thoughts on the place where Cabrera ranks among the greatest hitters in baseball history.