January 20, 2017
Miguel Cabrera was signed as an international amateur free agent by the Marlins way back in 1999. He received a $1.8 million signing bonus that would have been a record had Wily Mo Pena not signed a $2.4 million deal that same signing period. He kicked around the minors for a few years before making his way to the majors in 2003 as a 20-year-old. The then-left fielder/third baseman was solidly average at the plate in his first taste of the majors. After that, he turned into a young superstar. He made the All-Star team in each of his next four full seasons with the Marlins and put up a .947 in that time.
In classic Marlins fashion, it was at this point they dealt their 24-year-old stud in a blockbuster with Detroit. The Tigers received Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis — another young superstar at that point — for an impressive package of prospects that included Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin. Most of the players in that deal didn’t pan out as expected, but Cabrera made the leap from superstar to legend. Since getting to Detroit, he’s won two MVPs (how much he deserved them is a conversation for another day) and took the mantle of Best Hitter In Baseball from Albert Pujols. Heading into last season, he was a consistent juggernaut in any lineup, hitting .321/.399/.562 and averaging about 150 games per season.
What Went Right in 2016
As he’s done for his entire career, Cabrera put together one of the best all-around seasons of any hitter in baseball. Despite people continually expecting him to fall off as he entered his 30’s, the first baseman contributed in four of th>