Buster Olney of ESPN hears rumblings of discontent throughout MLB over what is going to be the most expensive long-term commitment in pro sports history.
Miguel Cabrera is highly respected/appreciated, but officials with other teams are appalled by Detroit decision to give him that many years.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) March 27, 2014
Haven't heard as much disgust over a contract from rival execs since the Jayson Werth contract. Industry is in shock over the Cabrera deal.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) March 27, 2014
The Los Angeles Angels are an obvious candidate to be leading the anti-Cabrera contract brigade, considering Mike Trout will use this extension as a baseline for his contract negotiations in a couple of years. For that matter, the small-market teams who are more than happy to collect huge amounts of revenue sharing, but refuse to invest that cash in player procurement would be prime candidates as well.
What's crazy is most of the same teams complaining about Cabrera's extension would be first in line to make insane contract offers if the Tigers had allowed their superstar to reach free agency. If the Tigers didn't give Cabrera a monster deal, another MLB team surely would have stepped up. And the rest of baseball would be upset at that team. Wash, rinse, repeat.
It's possible this deal ends up as an albatross for the Tigers. But it's also possible, and maybe even likely, Cabrera remains a very productive hitter deep into his 30's. Players who put up the numbers Cabrera has to this point of his career are first ballot Hall of Famers. That sort of talent tends to age well. The fact the Tigers can shift him to the DH position in a few years also helps Cabrera keep his value as a player.
Will Cabrera be worth $30 million a season in 2023? No, he won't. No 40-year-old player would be. But odds are the Tigers are betting Cabrera will continue to produce Hall of Fame numbers in the early and middle years of the contract, making the entire deal worthwhile.
After watching Miguel Cabrera do remarkable things with a baseball bat over the past six seasons, things few other players even dream of doing, I wouldn't bet against the most feared hitter in the game beating the odds.