Detroit Tigers

Miguel Cabrera acknowledges fading chance at 3,000 hits

Miguel Cabrera got his 2,700th career hit earlier this week, but he has also seemed to acknowledge a fading chance at getting to 3,000 hits.

On Wednesday night against the Boston Red Sox, Miguel Cabrera got the 2,700th hit of his career. He’s the 69th player in MLB history to reach that hit plateau, and he’s got the more exclusive club of 3,000 hits on his radar.

“It’s something not too many players in the big leagues, they make it,” the 17-year major-league veteran told Jessica Camerato of MLB.com on Thursday. “If I make it and hit 3,000, it’s going to be awesome.”

Just 32 players have reached the 3,000-hit milestone, including active hits leader Albert Pujols (No. 23 all-time with 3,099 hits). Cabrera is next on the active list.

From 2004-2016, Cabrera posted a .323/.402/.566 cumulative slash-line while averaging 155 games and 187 hits per season. He will go down as one of the best hitters of his generation, and one of the best right-handed hitters of all-time. But his numbers dropped in 2017 (.249, 16 home runs, 60 RBI and 117 hits over 130 games), and a bicep injury limited him to just 38 games last year.

Cabrera has been healthy so far this year, with a .267 batting average (24 hits), zero home runs and seven RBI entering Friday. He has acknowledged the need for a resurgence if he has a real chance at 3,000 hits.

You’ve got to hit .300 to [get to] 3,000,” Cabrera said. “To me, that’s really close. I think about it a little bit. But at the same time, I say it’s a long way to go. So I don’t have to focus on, ‘I’ve got to get 3,000 tomorrow.’ It’s going to be step by step and try to focus game by game.

At 36 years old, it is easy to dismiss Cabrera getting 300 or more hits over what’s left of his career. But he’s under contract with the Tigers at least through 2023, with unlikely vesting options for 2024 and 2025 based on finishing top-10 in MVP voting the prior season.

Cabrera won’t need 3,000 hits to assure himself a place in Cooperstown within his first few years of eligibility. But unless he retires before the end of his contract, nearly five seasons from now, there’s a chance he limps to the milestone as a well-faded shell of the hitter he was in his prime.

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