There is a shortlist of baseball players where you stop what you are doing to see them bat. One of those guys was Miguel Cabrera. Now he is completely cringe-worthy. He is hard to watch. During his prime, Miggy was the Tigers’ best right-handed hitter in my lifetime. Yes, better than the great Al Kaline.
He has 2,876 hits, 489 home runs, and a career .312 batting average sinking daily. Long gone is Triple Crown Miggy. So is the Miggy that yanked home runs down the left-field line. He only has two this season, and most of his home runs the past few years have been to right-center because he cannot turn quickly enough to pull anymore.
Of course, this is not new data.
Cabrera hasn’t hit above .300 since 2016, which is also the last time the Tigers had a winning record. It was also the last time he hit more than 20 home runs. Since then, he has a .260 batting average and averages 10.3 home runs and 44 RBIs a season.
“People can talk about me good or bad; I don’t really care,” he said. “I’m going out there to do my job, that’s it.”
All of that for $30 million a year? It seems like the Tigers deserve a refund. But they are paying him for the former Miggy.
They are still paying him for 2006 when he cracked 26 home runs and drove in 114 runs while batting .339. Along with that, they’re still paying him for the Triple Crown 2012 season when he hit .330 with 44 home runs and 139 runs batted in.
Long-term contracts are great initially when signed, but they usually bite teams in the ass at the end.
They are still paying him for two Most Valuable Player seasons and four batting titles. Those are the days that if the Tigers were background noise while working around the house, I would stop what I was doing when I heard Cabrera was at the plate. You didn’t know how much noise he was going to make with the bat. And you wanted to see it.
There are only a few Tiger players that deserve that honor.
Al Kaline. Willie Horton. Prince Fielder. Cecil Fielder. And of course Miggy.
The other day a young man went off on Cabrera, calling him “Piggy Cabrera.” I shall not resort to name-calling because the man is a sure-fire Hall of Fame player. However, I want to caution my media brothers and sisters at the Detroit News and Free Press to refrain from writing the annual spring training story of “Miggy is in the best shape of his career.”
So he doesn’t have a fat ass in Lakeland. Big deal.
By April, he is fat, sloppy, injury-prone, and whiffing at fat pitches down the middle of the plate. It happens to the best of us. Cabrera is 38 years old, and father time always catches up and slows us down.
The Tigers should drop him in the order. The problem is this light-hitting club does not have anyone deserving of batting third. What’s the point anyways? The last place Tigers (11-24) are going nowhere fast.
Cut him. Release him. I know what you’re thinking. But that won’t happen, nor should it. The Tigers keep him for two simple reasons. They want to see Miggy collect his 500th home run in a Tigers uniform along with hit number 3,000.
They are hoping to give this man one last standing ovation on an otherwise brilliant career. I suppose I will start paying attention if and when he gets close to these milestones.
Right now, it is too painful to watch.