He is a five-time All-Star, having been selected to the National League All-Star Team in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and the American League All-Star Team in 2010. Cabrera has started 100 games at each of first base, third base, left field and right field. He progressed through the Florida Marlins minor-league system and was called up from the Double-A Carolina Mudcats in 2003. According to Baseball-Reference, Cabrera is putting up statistics comparable to Hank Aaron and Ken Griffey, Jr. at age 27.
Major league careerEdit
2003: Rookie yearEdit
Cabrera made his major league debut on June 20, 2003, at 20 years old; Edgar Rentería, at 19 years old, was the only Marlins player to make his debut at a younger age. Cabrera hit a walk-off home run in his first major league game, following Billy Parker in 1972 and Josh Bard in 2002 as the third player since 1900 to hit a game-winning home run in his big-league debut.
Quietly, Cabrera put together one of the best seasons by a National League rookie, immediately becoming the Marlins cleanup batter. Cabrera's postseason play helped propel Florida to a World Series championship over the Yankees and also landed him on the cover of ESPN The Magazine during the offseason.
In the NLDS against the Giants, Cabrera hit .286 with three RBI. After changing positions in the heat of the NLCS against the Cubs, he hit .333 with three homers and six RBI. In the World Series, Cabrera had the at bat that defined his postseason in Game Four. Facing Roger Clemens for the first time, Cabrera, who was only 20 years old at the time, got knocked down by a Roger Clemens inside fastball. Two pitches later, he belted the Clemens offering into the right field seats.
In 2004, he proved that his rookie season was no fluke, batting .294 with 33 homers, 112 RBI, 101 runs, 177 hits, a .366 on base percentage, a .512 slugging percentage from the third and fourth spots in the order, while playing in 160 games and earning his first All-Star appearance.
Cabrera spent the whole 2004 season playing in the outfield, with no games at third base; he showed his arm strength as a former third baseman with his 13 outfield assists. In 284 total fielding chances, he committed nine errors and made 262 putouts.
In 2005 he came in second in the National League in hits with 198, and batted .323 with 33 homers, 43 doubles, 2 triples, and 116 RBIs. He was chosen to his second consecutive All-Star Game along with teammates Paul LoDuca and Dontrelle Willis, and won his first Silver Slugger award. His 33 home runs made him the youngest player in Major League Baseball history to hit back-to-back 30 homer seasons, at 22 years, 143 days. Albert Pujols of the Cardinals did it at 22 years, 223 days. Cabrera also became the first Florida Marlin in history to hit at least 30 home runs and bat in at least 100 runs in back-to-back seasons.
During the 2005 season, Carlos Delgado protected Cabrera in the lineup, which allowed Cabrera to see more hittable pitches rather than having more pitchers pitch around him in the order (usually by intentionally walking him). The Marlins traded Delgado to the New York Mets after the season as part of their organizationally-termed "market correction," obtaining first baseman Mike Jacobs, pitcher Yusmeiro Petit, and infielder Grant Psomas from the Mets.
Cabrera entered the 2006 season as a leader and key run producer. With help from teammates Josh Willingham and Dan Uggla hitting behind and ahead of him respectively, Cabrera finished the year with a career-high .339 batting average, 26 home runs and 114 RBIs. He was selected to his third consecutive All-Star Game and won his second Silver Slugger.
On June 22, 2006, Cabrera singled on the first pitch of an attempted intentional walk during the 10th inning against pitcher Todd Williams. This oddity put the Florida Marlins ahead for good in an 8–5 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.
During a July 9 7–6 road loss to the Mets, Cabrera became involved in an altercation with teammate Scott Olsen. With the Marlins trailing 2–0, Mets catcher Paul Lo Duca hit a hard grounder that glanced off Cabrera's glove and rolled into left field, allowing a run to score as Lo Duca raced to second with a double. While the ball glanced off Cabrera's glove, Olsen seemed to believe that Cabrera did not give his full effort to get to the ball. As they came off the field, Olsen could be seen shouting something at Cabrera. A moment later, television cameras showed Cabrera in the crowded dugout reaching past teammates to poke his finger at Olsen as the pitcher walked past him. Olsen tried to jab back at Cabrera, who charged Olsen and tried to kick the pitcher before both players were quickly separated by teammates.
Cabrera battled the Pirates shortstop Freddy Sanchez for the National League batting crown until the last day of the regular season. Manager Joe Girardi batted him first in the last game of the season to give him more chances to get a hit for the crown, but Cabrera finished second to Sanchez. Cabrera also finished the 2006 campaign with a career-high .568 slugging percentage and a career-high .430 on base percentage.
On February 17, 2007, Cabrera became the first player of the 2007 offseason to win his arbitration hearing, obtaining a one-year contract worth $7.4 million.
Cabrera made his fourth consecutive All-Star game. He was initially supposed to participate in the Home Run Derby during the All-Star weekend, but an injured left shoulder, suffered a few days before the All-Star break, forced him out of the derby and limited him in the All-Star game to a pinch hit at-bat against Dan Haren in which he struck out.
On September 4, 2007, Cabrera batted in his 500th run as a major leaguer, making him the third-youngest player to accumulate 500 RBI. Hall of Famers Mel Ott and Ted Williams were the only players to precede him in this feat.
On September 15, 2007, at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado, Cabrera added two more achievements to his already impressive career. For the fourth consecutive season (2004–2007) Cabrera managed to drive in at least 100 runs. His 100th RBI came in the first inning against Ubaldo Jimenez when he followed a Jeremy Hermida triple with a single to drive him in. Five innings later, Cabrera added four more RBI when he hit a ball 438 feet into the center field trees for his first career grand slam. He joined David Ortiz, Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols, Mark Teixeira and Vladimir Guerrero as the only players to reach the 100-RBI plateau in each of the four previous seasons.
In 2007, Cabrera won the NL Player of the Week twice (April 1–8 and June 4–10). He also made his way through the Marlins record book, passing former Marlins Gary Sheffield and Derrek Lee for second on the franchise home run list. He moved into third in all-time franchise RBI and first in batting average. Cabrera ended the season with career highs in both home runs and runs batted in.
On December 5, 2007, the Marlins traded Cabrera and starting pitcher Dontrelle Willis to the Detroit Tigers for pitchers Andrew Miller, Dallas Trahern, Eulogio De La Cruz and Burke Badenhop, outfielder Cameron Maybin, and catcher Mike Rabelo.
On March 22, 2008 Cabrera reached an agreement with the Tigers on an eight-year, $153.3 million contract extension. At the time, the deal was the fourth-largest in baseball history, behind those signed by Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, and Manny Ramirez. The deal is also the largest in Tigers history, surpassing the five-year, $75 million contract signed by Magglio Ordóñez in 2005. Cabrera earned $11.3 million in 2008, and will receive an average of $19 million per year through 2015.
Cabrera made his Tigers debut on March 31, 2008 in a home game against the Kansas City Royals. In his third at-bat, he hit a solo home run off Royals pitcher Gil Meche. He finished the game 1-for-5 with two strikeouts, and the Tigers lost 5–4 in 11 innings.
On April 22, manager Jim Leyland announced that Cabrera would be moving to first base, with Carlos Guillén becoming the starting third baseman. Cabrera had already made seven appearances at first, the first appearances at the position of his career.
Cabrera finished the 2008 season with a career-high 37 home runs, which led the American League. He became the youngest AL home run champion since Troy Glaus in 2000. He also established a new career high in RBI (127). He became one of only five players who have driven in at least 100 runs in each the past five seasons, joining Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols, David Ortiz, Bobby Abreu and Mark Teixeira.
On Opening Day, Cabrera hit a grand slam in left-center that traveled better than 420 feet at Comerica Park to give the Detroit Tigers a convincing 15–2 victory over the Texas Rangers. Cabrera finished the game 4 for 6 with 6 RBI.
On August 23, 2009 Cabrera hit his 200th career home run in his 1,000th career game against the Oakland A's. He became only the 4th Venezuelan player to ever reach that plateau.
Cabrera posted a .324 batting average, which was 4th in the AL. He also tied his career-high in hits with 198, which was also 4th among the AL. He also had yet another 100+ RBI season making it the 6th straight year for him to reach the 100 RBI mark.
On May 28 in a game against the Oakland Athletics in Detroit, Cabrera hit three home runs in a 6–5 Tigers loss. Two of the home runs were against starter Ben Sheets, and one against closer Andrew Bailey. It was the first three home run game in Cabrera's career, and came in his first game returning to the team after his daughters birth.
Cabrera was named an AL All-Star for the first time since joining the American League, and the 5th time in his seven year career. He was chosen to be the starter in place of Minnesota Twins star Justin Morneau who had a head injury.
On September 26 in a game against the Cleveland Indians in Cleveland, Cabrera suffered a high ankle sprain while getting back to first base on a pick-off throw attempt. He initially tried to play, but the Tigers decided to shut him down for the remainder of the season. He ended his 2010 season with a .328 batting average, a career-high 38 HRs and 126 RBIs.
Cabrera is both a Catholic and a practitioner of Santería. He became a babalao in the 2006 offseason. His wife is named Rosangel, and they have 2 daughters, Rosangel (age unknown), named after her mother, and Isabella, born May 26, 2010. Cabrera and his family currently live in Birmingham, Michigan.
Early morning on October 3, 2009, police were called to the Cabreras' home and took Cabrera in for questioning. Cabrera had come home at 6:00am, after a night of drinking at the nearby Townsend Hotel, and got in an argument with his wife. He was seen later that day at a game at Comerica Park, with scratches on his face. Cabrera told reporters that the scratches came from his dog and refused to discuss the matter further. It was later reported he had a blood alcohol level of .26, three times the legal limit, when tested at the police station. Dave Dombrowski, the general manager of the Tigers, picked him up from the police station around 7:30am—eleven and a half hours before that evening's game in which he went 0–4 with one strikeout and six runners left on base against the Chicago White Sox.
On January 21, 2010, it was reported that Cabrera spent three months in an alcohol abuse treatment center to help him recover from his addiction. He says he has not drunk alcohol since he was taken into custody in October 2009. He will continue this treatment into spring training and the regular season.
Television station WXYZ had obtained a police report from an alleged incident the preceding August, in which Cabrera was involved in a verbal altercation with diners at a restaurant inside the Townsend. Witnesses say Cabrera threatened to fight the group outside and indicated that he had a gun. Restaurant employees asked Cabrera to leave and police were called. There was no weapon in Cabrera's vehicle and Cabrera told team officials he did not own one. Cabrera then told team officials he had been dealing with personal issues and got upset, and the diners ended up dropping the matter.
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