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From Vaughn Ridley, Getty Images

Next Stop for Miguel Cabrera: 3,000 Hits

Miguel Cabrera took a 1-1 Steven Matz change-up and drilled it over the right-centerfield fence this weekend. It was the 500th home run of his storied career that will surely warrant a plaque in Cooperstown one day.

Cabrera, who turns 39 next April and hasn’t been a very productive player since 2016, might not have many more of those in him. There’s still some history to be made, however, for Miggy is just 45 hits away from becoming the 7th foreign-born player, and first Venezuelan, to reach 3,000 career hits.

Let the new countdown begin.

Birthday Special?

The Tigers have 36 more games this season. Even if Cabrera plays in every game, which he won’t, there’s little chance he collects 45 hits in 36 games. Miggy’s been around a .250-.260 hitter over the past few seasons, so it’s safe to say he’ll get around 30 or so hits from now til’ the end of the 2021 season. That means he’ll enter 2022 about 15 hits shy of 3,000.

Miguel Cabrera was born on April 18th, which lines him up perfectly to smack #3,000 on his birthday.

What a birthday gift to himself that would be, huh? Few players appear to have more fun playing baseball than Miguel Cabrera. Getting to 3,000 on his birthday would be a fitting climax to the final act of his career.

Business is Business…

Spencer Torkelson is one of the top hitting prospects in baseball, and figures to be the Tigers’ first baseman of the future. If he breaks camp with the big league club next spring, that makes playing time harder to come by for Miggy. The Detroit Tigers haven’t been competitive in a while, but have shown vast improvements this season with A.J. Hinch at the helm. If they decide to shift gears next season, will they be able to find at bats for their legendary, but rapidly-aging and very expensive 1B/DH?

There’s also the possibility Cabrera is released. It would be an all-time douchebag move to release your franchise cornerstone as he’s this close to a milestone, but business is business; Cabrera is set to make over $30 million per season until…2025. Were this to happen, he’d have to hope a team takes him on in the way the Dodgers took on Albert Pujols. Make him a spot starter. Let him tee off against lefties. That’s not a bad way to end your career, especially if you latch on with a contender. But it would likely ruin the bid for a 3,000-hit birthday celebration.

Enjoy the Ride

Appreciate every hit Miguel Cabrera collects for the rest of his career, however long that may be. Every time you see that nice, easy load, followed by that smooth, effortless swing, just know you’re watching an all-time great. One of the ten best right-handed hitters of all time.

And, as a Marlins fan, a representation of the consistent ineptitude of our front office. But that’s a conversation for another day.