DETROIT — As Miguel Cabrera wraps up his career this weekend, he already has his next chapter lined up. The Tigers on Friday named the former Triple Crown winner and two-time MVP as a special assistant to president of baseball operations Scott Harris, a role he’ll begin after Sunday’s season finale.
“Miguel Cabrera embodies what it means to be a Tiger, and I thank him for giving us 16 wonderful seasons representing the Olde English ‘D’ and our city,” Tigers chairman and CEO Chris Ilitch said in a statement. “Miguel’s historic accomplishments on the field truly make him one of the greatest Tigers in franchise history. He has also been a great teammate and is beloved by fans and throughout baseball. His big heart has made an ever-lasting impact on our community. My father was incredibly fond of Miggy and made sure he was a Tiger for the remainder of his playing career, and we’re thrilled to extend our relationship into the next chapter of his life.
“While it may be the end of an era, it’s a new beginning as Miguel will continue to pass along his baseball wisdom, culture-shaping values and mentorship to the next generation of Tigers players, who can aspire to the level of greatness that Miguel has achieved.”
The announcement is the culmination of an idea Cabrera and the Tigers had discussed for weeks. Cabrera made no secret about wanting to stay involved in the game after his playing career, and wanting to help out the club for which he spent the last 16 years as well as the next generation of players.
“I want to stay with this team and help, do something,” Cabrera said a couple weeks ago. “I don’t want to be coaching. I want to move around. …
“Let’s see what happens. But I want to be around these guys. These guys, they’re special. They’re growing right now. They’re maturing. I think next year they’re going to be better.”
A special assistant role allows Cabrera a fair amount of flexibility to figure out what works best for him and the team. He joins Hall of Famer Alan Trammell, former Tigers manager Jim Leyland and former Tigers greats Willie Horton, Kirk Gibson and Lance Parrish as special assistants.
“It’s been incredible to watch Miggy passing names on all-time leaderboards, but even more impressive to see how he’s handled the attention behind the scenes,” Harris said in a statement. “It’s no secret that the personal spotlight isn’t super comfortable to Miggy, and there’s something to be said about the humility he carries each and every day, even when fans across the league are chanting his name while wearing another team’s jersey on their backs. Lessons like how to deal with praise and pressure are exactly what we want him teaching players throughout our organization. I’m honored to have him as part of our staff, and know he will continue to make the Tigers better in his new role.”