Miguel Cabrera not changing mind on 2023 as farewell season

MIAMI -- Will one of the greatest hitters of all time follow in the footsteps of one of the greatest quarterbacks all time?

Not according to Miguel Cabrera, who says he has firmly decided to call it a career in 2023 after his 21st major league season.

"No! Not at all!" said Cabrera, brandishing his signature smile, when asked whether he would "pull off a Tom Brady," who returned for one more NFL season in 2022 after announcing his retirement.

"My body is certainly telling me that this might be the right time to call it a career," Cabrera told ESPN after Venezuela's World Baseball Classic workout Friday. "I am really grateful for all that I have been able to live and accomplish on the baseball field. But it is time to go."

The future Hall of Famer fueled speculation that 2023 might not be his final season when the Detroit Tigers announced that they would be moving the Comerica Park center- and right-field walls in and lowering the fences. Given that Detroit has one of the least hitter-friendly parks in Major League Baseball, Cabrera replied from his Instagram account to the team's post by saying "Por fin! [Finally!] Now I want to play more years!"

Cabrera's last season coincides with the final year of the contract extension he signed before the 2014 season. He identified his No. 1 goal as staying healthy throughout the 2023 season after being hampered by injuries that limited him to 112 games last year.

"I hope that things go well this year with the Detroit Tigers and that I am able to truly play hard, stay healthy and have a great season," he said. "My only goal this year is to stay on the field for as many games as possible and, most importantly, to help Detroit win. That is how I want to finish my career."

Cabrera spent the first five seasons of his major league career in Miami and continues to be one of the most popular players across baseball. As such, Cabrera has received some of the loudest ovations at the Marlins' home ballpark, which has hosted Venezuela's undefeated run to the WBC quarterfinals, where they will face the United States on Saturday.

Venezuela went 4-0 to finish atop Pool D in Miami, with LoanDepot Park setting the record for the most-attended WBC round ever in the United States, drawing 295,850 fans -- an increase of 81% from the last tournament held in 2017, according to Major League Baseball.

While Cabrera is unlikely to win a World Series ring in Detroit to go with the one he won in his rookie season with the Marlins in 2003, he told ESPN that a WBC championship would be just as meaningful.

"There are no words to describe what it means, not only for me, but for any of us, to represent our country and to wear the Team Venezuela uniform," Cabrera said. "Hopefully we can continue staying healthy and playing good baseball. But really, all we hope to do is win for our country. It would be a dream come true and an incredible thing to do as I finish out my career."