Miguel Cabrera has had a legendary MLB career.
The future Hall of Famer is currently in his 19th season, and 14 of them have come with the Detroit Tigers.
At his best, Cabrera was arguably the best hitter in baseball.
He won four batting titles, a triple crown, two MVP awards, seven Silver Sluggers, and was named to 11 All-Star teams between the years 2004 and 2016.
Unfortunately, Cabrera isn’t half the player he used to be, and the Tigers are locked into a deal with the 38-year-old until 2024.
This season, he is batting just .230 with a .635 OPS, and since the start of the 2019 season, he has been only marginally better, batting .263 with a .719 OPS.
With his production dwindling, what exactly does Cabrera bring to the table at this stage in his career?
2. He Gives Fans A Reason To Pay Attention To An Otherwise Irrelevant Team
It’s no secret that the Tigers are going nowhere this season.
At 34-45, the club is 12.5 games out of first place in the American League Central.
But that doesn’t mean the Tigers aren’t worth watching.
Cabrera gives fans a handful of reasons to tune in.
For one, it’s pretty surreal to get to watch a bonafide future Hall of Famer take the field.
That’s a very rare experience.
15 years ago today, Miguel Cabrera turned an intentional walk attempt into a go-ahead single 🤯
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) June 22, 2021
Beyond that, Cabrera is flirting with some massive benchmarks.
Many fans are invested in his race to 500 home runs.
He will almost certainly get there, as he is at 493 right now and has more than enough time to get it done either this season or next (or the one after that, but it likely won’t take that long).
On top of that, the Tigers legend is also on his way to 3,000 hits.
He is sitting at 2,915 right now and will likely get to 3,000 either this season or next.
Those moments will be priceless, and Tigers fans should enjoy every second of his journey to those milestones.
1. Veteran Presence And Leadership
You could probably count on one hand the number of baseball mentors out there who can provide more than Cabrera does to any given young player.
Cabrera has been through plenty in his 19-year career, and he has experienced enough success and failure to be able to relate to almost anyone.
The Tigers are currently in the middle of a big rebuild, so the club has plenty of young players who could use guidance at times.
Luckily, the team has the perfect guy for the job in Miggy.
The results have been noticeable, as Candelario managed to post a 137 OPS+ in 2020 and has a 100 OPS+ so far in 2021, both of which are improvements over his previous campaigns.
Mentorship is a huge key for up-and-coming players, and Cabrera provides it.
Here’s a cool moment that captures the mentorship paying off for both of the aforementioned players:
— Bally Sports Detroit (@BallySportsDET) June 29, 2021
Before we know it, the all-time great will be calling it quits.
Let’s appreciate him while we can.