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Tigers' Miguel Cabrera Intends to Play Out Contract, Retire After 2023 Season

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVAugust 5, 2022

Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

One of the greatest baseball players of his generation is coming back for a 21st season.

Miguel Cabrera revealed Friday to Chris McCosky of The Detroit News that he will return to the Detroit Tigers for the 2023 season.

"No way am I going to quit…Next year I’m going to be right here," Cabrera said.

This has seemingly been the plan for some time for Cabrera, who previously said he planned to play through the 2023 campaign.

"My right knee is really bad," Cabrera told ESPN's Sage Steele in August 2021 (h/t Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free Press) . "I need to take care of this in the offseason and prepare myself for next season. I say two more years. I think that's enough. I will be happy with 20 years in the big leagues if I can make it. Thank God for giving me this opportunity. Two more years and I'm done."

Retiring after 2023 makes sense from a timing perspective considering he is under contract through that season with mutual options for 2024 and 2025. He will make $32 million in what figures to be his final season at 40 years old.

Yet things seemed to change some during the 2022 season.

"I don't feel well right now," he said in August, per Petzold. "I'm trying to do whatever I can to go out there and play, but I don't feel really good right now."

Cabrera also said he planned on discussing his status with his agent, Tigers general manager Al Avila and "everybody" before he decided on retiring or returning for the 2023 campaign.

There also seemed to be a ceremonial passing of the torch to the next generation in July when he and Albert Pujols were named to the All-Star Game. The league even called the two legendary players "special All-Star selections" in its announcement, and the entire thing took on the feeling of a goodbye to two players who would be retiring.

Throw in the fact that Cabrera recorded the 3,000th hit of his career during an April game against the Colorado Rockies, and there wasn't much left to achieve.

He became the seventh player in league history with 3,000 hits and 500 home runs, joining a list of all-time greats in Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Eddie Murray, Rafael Palmeiro, Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez.

Perhaps a retirement would have been natural after all that, but he will look to add to a resume that includes a World Series title, two American League MVPs, a Triple Crown, seven Silver Sluggers, four batting titles and 12 All-Star selections.

The championship came in 2003 as a member of the Miami Marlins when he was a rookie in the first of five seasons with the National League team. The final four of them were All-Star campaigns, although Miami traded him to the Tigers ahead of the 2008 season.

He became the face of the Tigers during the next 15 years with back-to-back MVPs in 2012 and 2013, a World Series appearance and a Triple Crown. The Triple Crown came in his first MVP season when he finished with a .330 batting average, 44 home runs and 139 RBI for a team that lost to the San Francisco Giants in the Fall Classic.

It will all be enough for an all-but-guaranteed spot in the Hall of Fame once he hangs up the cleats, but that will apparently be on hold through at least the upcoming season.

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