On Monday night, newly retired Tigers great Miguel Cabrera took part in the Venezuelan edition of the home run derby. The festivities at La Rinconada Stadium in Caracas were designed to celebrate Venezuela’s favorite baseball son. Top Venezuelan players like Ronald Acuña Jr., Eugenio Suarez, and Brewers top prospect Jackson Chourio all honored Cabrera as a national baseball icon in statements to the press around the event, and the players all wore number 24 in tribute.
Acuña Jr., as one might expect, took home the crown in the home run derby in a something of a fitting transfer of the mantle of best active Venezuelan player. Pitted against a red hot Yasiel Puig in the first round, Cabrera was unable to advance, but as it turns out, that may not be the last time Venezuelan fans get to see him playing baseball in his home country.
The Venezuelan Professional Baseball League is already well underway this season, but Cabrera told reporters at the derby that he hopes to take the next 10 months to get his right knee in better condition and then play a final pro season for Tigres de Aragua in 2024-2025.
Per report and translation from Daniel Alvarez-Montes of El Extrabase, Cabrera has a plan in mind. ”I’m going to prepare properly, plan my final season next year and make it big like it was in the U.S.”
Cabrera hasn’t played for Tigres de Aragua since the 2007-2008 season, right before coming to Detroit from the Miami Marlins.
Since his emotional farewell in Detroit, Cabrera has filled his social media with clips of he and his kids at their various sporting events and appears fully in Dad-mode. Particularly after watching the still excellent pure hitter struggle to hit off his back the past few seasons, it’s a bit of surprise to hear him planning on playing another season, albeit a much shorter one than an MLB season, in Venezuela.
Hopefully the knee is willing, as conducting a farewell tour at home and trying to lead his young teammates to a Venezuelan League championship would be a really cool, and fitting addendum to his major league career.