Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera is only 13 home runs away from reaching 500 for his career and 134 hits from joining the 3,000 club. With a full 162-game season ahead of him, the 37-year-old wants to clear both marks in 2021.
In order to do so, he'll have to bounce back from a disappointing 2020 where he slashed .250/.329/.417 with 10 home runs and 35 RBI in 57 games.
Cabrera hasn't hit more than 12 home runs in a season since he slugged 16 in 2017, though he collected 139 hits over 136 games in 2019.
In order to exceed both 500 home runs and 3,000 hits, he'll have to not only put together one of the best seasons of his post-prime years but stay healthy for the duration of it. Cabrera believes that's more possible now than it has been in recent seasons.
“I feel more like when I was healthy,” Cabrera said. “I feel I can move my legs, move my hips, move my body when I'm hitting. I don't try to do too much. I can do my swing naturally. I think it's going to help me a lot this year to produce more, to hit more for power and try to raise up my average again.”
If that remains true, the 11-time All-Star will become the 33rd player to join the 3,000-hit club and just the second active player to reach that plateau alongside Los Angeles Angels veteran Albert Pujols, who became the 32nd player in MLB history with 3,000 hits in 2018.
Cabrera could also be an overachiever and become the fourth ever player to reach 3,000 hits via home run, following the likes of Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Wade Boggs.
Already finishing off a Hall of Fame career, Cabrera has no doubt he'll get those legendary numbers.
“Right now, at this point in my career, 3,000 [hits] and 500 home runs, I never [thought] about that,” Cabrera said. “You think in the back of your mind, 'I hope someday I can do that.' But right now, to be in this position is really awesome. I feel proud of what I’ve done in my whole career, [but] don't try to stop here, try to keep going and try to keep putting up more numbers, have fun and try to win games. If we're able to win a lot of games, I think the numbers are going to be there at the end of the season.”
Cabrera would become the 28th member of the 500 home run club, the first player to join since David Ortiz in 2015 and—if all goes right—seventh player in MLB history to reach both 500 home runs and 3,000 hits alongside Pujols, Rodriguez, Henry Aaron, Eddie Murray, Willie Mays and Rafael Palmeiro.