MLB Today: Farewell, Miguel Cabrera
Milwaukee will be without Brandon Woodruff for at least the Wild Card round; Trevor Bauer finally settled his sexual assault dispute, perhaps paving his way to an MLB return, should someone actually want him; and the Mets have officially begun the David Stearns era.
The End of an Era
It’s time for us to say goodbye to Miguel Cabrera, one of the greatest right-handed hitters of his generation.
Heading into this year, we tried to contextualize his final campaign; let’s see how things played out…
In his final season, Cabrera saw less action, but hit a little better (675 OPS), and at the very least proved less bad than he’d been in 2022.
In posting 86 hits this year, Cabrera vaulted over some amazing names on the all-time list: Ichiro Suzuki, Dave Winfield, Alex Rodriguez, Tony Gwynn, Robin Yount, Paul Waner, George Brett and Adrian Beltre. Miggy finished in 16th place, just 10 safeties shy of Cal Ripken Jr.
On the home run list, Cabrera was able to pass Gary Sheffield and finish tied with Mel Ott, just one behind Ernie Banks and Eddie Mathews. Among doubles leaders, Cabrera shot past Waner, Paul Molitor and Hank Aaron, winding up just five behind David Ortiz.
Cabrera usurped Ott on the RBI list, finishing 22 behind Willie Mays and a place within the top 10.
At the end of the day, Miggy hasn’t been a very good hitter since 2016, and at this stage, the best thing he has left to offer the Tigers is salary relief. Even so, he’s still a slam-dunk first ballot Hall of Famer.
Youth vs. Experience
The Miami Marlins will meet the Philadelphia Phillies in one of the NL Wild Card series, and — believe it or not — this is first playoff meeting between these long-time division rivals.
The Marlins have a very young squad, and while they do have some playoff experienced players such as Jorge Soler and Yuli Gurriel, they’re like postseason babes in the woods compared to the Phillies.
Speaking of Gurriel, the last time we checked in on him, he was having a down year, part of a career-long trend of alternating good seasons with bad ones, a habit that continues to this day. Having said that, 2023 was supposed to bring out the good Gurriel, and while he was marginally better than last year (including doing some recent damage against the Phils — see video below), he’s been reduced to a part-time role, thereby rendering him as useful as a screen door on a submarine for Fantasy purposes.
There has been some big changes within the powers in the American League this season (hello, Baltimore and Texas, so long Yankees), but lo and behold, once again the Houston Astros are back in the postseason — for the seventh straight season. And at +170, they are the favourites to represent the American League in the World Series as per odds at FanDuel.
How have the Astros built this perennial winner? The old fashioned way — through the draft/international signings. With 13, Houston has more homegrown players on its postseason roster than any other playoff-bound squad.
Among them is long-time third baseman Alex Bregman, who we noted last year was establishing himself as an all-time great for the team, a legacy he built on this year with another strong campaign.
He reached 25 homers for the third time in what was arguably an even better season than he put up in 2022’s fine comeback effort.
Playoffs have been a different beast for Bregman, who has been there for every season of the Astros’ postseason run. He’s had two fantastic playoff showings (2018 and 2022), three poor performances (2017, 2020 and 2021) and one that was meh (2019). Bregman will need to put up a postseason performance closer to his career regular season level (861 OPS) if the ‘Stros are going to achieve what’s expected from them.
RotoRob Tune of the Day
Sir Thomas John Woodward (OBE) is better known by his stage name, Tom Jones. In 1971, he released one of his 36 top 40 UK hits, “She’s a Lady,” a track originally penned by Paul Anka.