Detroit Tigers legend Miguel Cabrera may be in midst of final season

Jul 28, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Detroit Tigers designated hitter Miguel Cabrera (24) stands during the national anthems against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 28, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Detroit Tigers designated hitter Miguel Cabrera (24) stands during the national anthems against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports /
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In theory, Miguel Cabrera is coming back for one more year. The Detroit Tigers legend is under contract for $32 million for 2023 with a pair of $30 million vesting options in 2024 and 2025. While he would need to finish in the top ten of the MVP vote next season to trigger that first option, a swansong for 2023 seemed to be a given.

That may not be the case. Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free Press reported that Cabrera has yet to make a determination about his status for next season, saying that he doesn’t “feel well right now” despite trying everything he can to be able to play.

Miguel Cabrera may be ready to walk away from Detroit Tigers

Even then, Cabrera is clearly a shadow of his former self. He has a career worst 90 OPS+ this season, hitting just four homers and nine doubles in his 352 plate appearances as his power has completely disappeared. Cabrera is still getting hits as evidenced by his .271 batting average, but his strikeout rate has ticked up to 23.3% as his bat has slowed. At this point, he is essentially an expensive singles hitter.

He has had his moments this season. Cabrera did notch his 3000th career hit earlier this season and notched his 600th career double. He is one of three players in MLB history with at least 3000 hits, 600 doubles, and 500 homers, joining Hank Aaron and Albert Pujols, and is the only one in that group who currently has fewer than 10,000 at bats.

And Cabrera had plenty of moments with the Tigers. He was an eight time All Star in Detroit, winning back to back AL MVP awards and finishing as the runner up in 2010. A feared slugger for most of his career, the power had faded, but he remained a respected leader and a key part of the Tigers’ lineup.

These days, he is essentially a veteran mentor. He had ceded first base to Spencer Torkelson in a little ceremony, only to watch the Tigers’ phenom fall flat in the majors. Cabrera is stuck on a losing team watching what was supposed to be a push to the postseason become a comedy of bad play and horrendous offense. Chances are, that makes his wear and tear even more painful.

While it makes sense that he is considering hanging up the cleats after this season, it also robs him of a farewell tour. Cabrera is the greatest player to hail from Venezuela and has become an idol to so many players and fans. He deserves to soak up that adulation from fans around the game. But, at the same time, Cabrera deserves to go out on his terms, which may be in a few short weeks.

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It is time to appreciate Miguel Cabrera while we still can. The Detroit Tigers legend is not guaranteeing a return in 2023.