The designated hitter for the Detroit Tigers hit a home run on Sunday. Why does that deserve its own article on Fish Stripes? Because that player was Miguel Cabrera. The former Marlins World Series champion and first-ballot inductee into our Hall of Fame became the 28th player in MLB history to reach 500 career homers.
Cabrera combined offensive dominance and durability better than any other Marlin, and he did it while being among the youngest players in the league. Despite a relatively short tenure, his career totals in every meaningful stat rank among the top 10 for the Fish franchise. He remains their all-time batting average king (.313).
Prior to Cabrera’s age-25 season, the Marlins made the regrettable decision to package him and Dontrelle Willis to the Tigers for a haul of highly ranked prospects. While Willis’ career quickly fizzled out, Miggy ascended to an even higher level of stardom:
- Cabrera with Marlins (2003-2007)—.313/.388/.542, 139 wRC+, 22.3 PA/HR
- Cabrera with Tigers (2008-Present)—.310/.388/.531 145 wRC+, 21.5 PA/HR
The Tigers proactively signed him to a lifetime contract while he was still a perennial MVP candidate. It pays him $30 million per season through 2023 (age 40) with two longshot vesting options at the end for 2024 and 2025. In hindsight, they should have waited a bit longer to gauge his true market value and consider the likelihood of a decline—his production plummeted almost as soon as that extension kicked in.
However, it’s hard to put a dollar figure on celebrations like this, particularly for a Tigers fanbase that needs something to be emotionally invested in during the dog days of another sub-.500 season.
Miggy’s 500th home run was also career hit No. 2,956. If he’s able to avoid significant injuries, the Venezuelan icon can be expected to record his 3,000th hit sometime next April.