DETROIT – After some difficult seasons for Miguel Cabrera, the Detroit Tigers Slugger has a chance to remind fans of how much he has accomplished in his career.
In particular, Cabrera has the opportunity to achieve two important milestones in 2021. He’s 13 home races with fewer than 500 and 134 hits with fewer than 3,000. And yes, he knows those numbers.
“I hope so. We can do both,” said Cabrera on Friday with a laugh. “I hope I can get to 500, 3,000 this year.” That’s one of my goals this year. I feel good mentally. I feel strong mentally. I try to go out and play hard day in and day out. ”
It’s been a while since Cabrera resembled the player who was the American League MVP in 2012 and 2013. The last time he was really impressive with the racket was in 2016 when he hit .316 with 38 home runs. From 2017 to 2019, he only played 304 games as a series of injuries limited his availability.
In the meantime, the Tigers have made a major makeover and traded away many of their top players. Cabrera, who will turn 38 in April, is still on the team, which says a lot about his declining production and large order.
Only half a dozen players have both 500 homers and 3,000 hits: Hank Aaron, Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols, Willie Mays, Rafael Palmeiro and Eddie Murray.
Cabrera certainly has a chance to achieve both this year. He managed to play 57 of his team’s 58 games in the shortened 2020 season and he has hit 10 homers. In 2019 he had 139 hits in 136 games.
“I want to be healthy and do my best. I want to do everything I can to help the team win games,” said Cabrera on Friday.
Cabrera didn’t play on the field last year, but new manager A.J. Hinch said he would be open to playing some on the first base.
“He wants to play first. I didn’t know that he uttered it as often as I learned after I even said it,” said Hinch. “My plan for him is to give him the opportunity to be a bit more of a full player and not just fall into the DH category.”
Cabrera said he spoke to Nelson Cruz about some of his work habits – 40-year-old Cruz is still one of the game’s top home run hitters.
“I love to play baseball,” said Cabrera. “I love having fun in the field. I love going out there every night.”