‘Time to say goodbye to baseball’: Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera bracing for his final season

Detroit News

Detroit — Miguel Cabrera is throwing a party in Miami on Wednesday, a massive gala and auction to raise money for his foundation and, at a press gathering on Monday, he acknowledged that the 2023 season would be his last.

Mostly, the press event was in Spanish. But to MLB.com’s Christina DeNicola, the Tigers’ future Hall-of-Famer said, “It is going to be my last year.”

Then, after a pause, he added, “It feels a little weird to say that. I thought I’m not going to say never, but I think it’s time to say goodbye to baseball.”

Cabrera will be 40 in April and he made it clear in August that he fully planned to play in 2023, the final year of his contract with the Tigers. He has always maintained that he would retire at the end of his contract. He has since met with both manager AJ Hinch and president Scott Harris about his role next season.

“I was really energized by how committed he is to putting in the work this offseason and showing up to Lakeland in excellent shape,” Harris said during the general managers’ meetings in Las Vegas last month. “We sat down together in my office for a while and we talked about what he wants, we talked about his goals for next year and we talked about what his offseason looks like.

“We all know what he can do when he’s healthy. It’s important that we provide all of our organizational support to him, both in the offseason and in spring training. It’s also important that we come up with a plan with him and manager AJ to keep him healthy during the season.”

That plan has not been finalized just yet, but Cabrera understands there is a chance he might not be the everyday designated hitter next season.

“It depends how I’m feeling,” he told MLB.com. “We’re always open to talk and see. I always do whatever they want, whatever the manager wants me to do. I don’t worry about if I’m going to play everyday or not.

“So if they give me a chance, I’ll play. If not, I’m going to support the team. Gotta be a good teammate.”

Cabrera, as he has indicated before, wants to stay in the game after his playing days are over.

“I’ve had a lot of conversation with my family and AJ,” he said. “I don’t know. We’ll see if I can stay in the organization with the Tigers, help young guys, help their development. I don’t know yet. I have time to decide, but my goal is to stay in baseball, try to help a lot of baseball.

“Because I love baseball. Why would I go away?”

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The gala is his foundation’s biggest fundraiser of the year and this year’s promises to be a doozy.

The “Dinner with Miguel Cabrera and Friends” will feature, along with the meal and auction, a display of Cabrera’s awards including the Triple Crown trophy. There will also be musical performances by Miguelito Diaz, Oscar Arriaga, Nelson Arrieta, Ronald Borjas, Manny Cruz, and Charlie Aponte.

“I always say it’s not only about playing baseball,” Cabrera said. “It’s also about giving back to the community. I don’t want to hear, ‘Oh, he came here to Detroit or Miami to play baseball only.’

“I want people to remember he came to play baseball and he helped the community, too.”

chris.mccosky@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @cmccosky

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