Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic reported this week that the new collective bargaining agreement permitted the commissioner’s office to select one or more players from each league as bonus additions to the game. The honor is in recognition of the player’s career body of work, not their 2022 performance.
“I am delighted that Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera have agreed to participate in the All-Star Game,” commissioner Rob Manfred said in the league’s press release. “Albert and Miguel are two of the most accomplished players of their generation. They have also represented the baseball traditions of the Dominican Republic and Venezuela with excellence for the last two decades. Albert and Miguel are two all-time greats whose achievements warrant this special recognition.”
Pujols is playing the final season of his career. He finished in the top five in NL MVP voting in ten of his first 11 years with St. Louis, claiming the award three times. After spending parts of ten seasons with the Angels and a bit more than half of last year with the Dodgers, he returned to the Cardinals for his final run. Pujols has appeared in 45 games in a part-time first base/designated hitter role.
Cabrera has seven top-five MVP finishes in his career, including back-to-back wins in 2012-13. He’s won seven Silver Slugger Awards and claimed the AL Triple Crown in 2012. He’s under contract with Detroit through 2023 and hasn’t suggested he plans to retire after this season, but he’s nevertheless a perfectly sensible choice as the AL’s first “legendary” All-Star. Cabrera has gotten the nod for 68 of Detroit’s 82 games at DH and posted slightly above-average offensive numbers.
Among active players, Pujols and Cabrera rank first and second, respectively, in career hits, home runs and RBI. Pujols is the active career leader in Baseball Reference WAR, while Cabrera ranks third among position players in that category (behind Mike Trout). They’re both locks to reach the Hall of Fame in their first years on the ballot. This will be Pujols’ 11th All-Star nod, while Cabrera is heading to the Midsummer Classic for a 12th time.