Quick Bit: The future first-ballot Hall of Famer is mired in one of the worst seasons of his career and dealing with knee issues at 39.
Albert Pujols, one of the most feared hitters in the 2000s and a future first-ballot Hall of Famer, is ending his MLB playing career after the 2022 season. It’s possible another of the sport’s most impactful batters will be doing the same.
Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera told reporters Thursday that he will talk with his agent, general manager Al Avila and others before deciding whether to return for the 2023 season, according to the Detroit Free Press’ Evan Petzold.
The 39-year-old designated hitter/first baseman has been playing through a knee injury that has caused him to miss games this year. He said he doesn’t “feel well right now” but is trying to keep playing.
He sat out Wednesday’s matchup against the Twins, and Detroit manager A.J. Hinch said that the team might start finding more scheduled off-days for Cabrera moving forward.
Miguel Cabrera stats
It has been another down year for Cabrera, who has not posted an OPS above .800 in a full season since 2016.
Cabrera entered Thursday’s game against the Twins with a .271 batting average, .321 on-base percentage and four home runs in 90 games. His .336 slugging percentage would be the lowest of his career by 50 points if the season ended today. His previous lowest slugging percentage was .386 in 2021.
Baseball Savant‘s calculations show that while Cabrera still ranks in the 73rd percentile in average exit velocity and 74th percentile in max exit velocity, he is in the 37th percentile in hard-hit rate and is below the 50th percentile in all other offensive stats.
Cabrera, as with many batters as they get older, has seen his numbers decline, though his drop was rather abrupt after the 2016 season. While he was still hitting the ball hard in 2017, his power numbers were well down from the .563 slugging percentage and 38 home runs he hit the year prior. He posted just a .399 slugging percentage and 16 home runs in 130 games.
Since that 2016 campaign, he has not reached 20 home runs, played in more than 136 games or slugged above .450 in a season.
Cabrera has, of course, had a Hall of Fame career. He is one of only seven players with at least 3,000 hits and 500 home runs, joining Pujols; Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Eddie Murray and Willie Maysl and two players who would be in the Hall of Fame if not for connections to steroids, Alex Rodriguez and Rafael Palmeiro.
The 12-time All-Star won the American League Triple Crown in 2012, leading to the first of two consecutive AL MVP awards. He has finished in the top five in MVP voting seven times in his career, twice in the National League with the Marlins and five times in the AL with the Tigers.
Cabrera, along with Pujols, was named an honorary All-Star this year by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred.
Miguel Cabrera contract
Much of the speculation about when Cabrera might retire is tied to his contract. Cabrera had previously said he would retire after the 2023 season, when his current pact would be expiring, according to Petzold.
In 2014, Cabrera signed an eight-year, $248 million extension that went into effect at the start of the 2016 season. The deal also includes $30 million club options for 2024 and 2025, according to Spotrac and Cot’s Contracts. The 2024 option includes an $8 million buyout. The options can vest each year if Cabrera finishes in the top 10 in MVP voting the previous season. Cabrera is slated to make $32 million in 2023.
Originally found on Sporting News Read More