The Detroit Tigers agreeing to a monster contract extension with Miguel Cabrera for eight-years and $248 million caused jaws to hit the floor around the baseball world. In fact, the deal may be even larger than first reported.
cabrera commitment could reach $352M. there are 2 vesting options, in yrs 11 and 12, at $30M each. #tigers— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) March 27, 2014
When you break the dollar amounts down, the numbers are absolutely staggering.
Mike Ilitch bought the Detroit Tigers for $82 million in 1992. He will be paying @MiguelCabrera $210 million more over the next 10 years.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) March 28, 2014
Miguel Cabrera will earn $49,423 PER AT BAT over the next decade. Median annual income of a household in Michigan: $48,471.— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) March 27, 2014
With that, Miguel Cabrera (at $31MM during the extension years) will surpass Clayton Kershaw for the highest AAV in MLB.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) March 27, 2014
Miguel Cabrera's last deal was $152 million, plus this one for $248 million. #Tigers paying $400 million for 16 years of Miggy.— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) March 27, 2014
If contract is signed, Miguel Cabrera's going to make roughly $80,000 per day for the next 10 years. #Tigers— Freep Sports (@freepsports) March 27, 2014
Making $30M a season Miggy will be paid: $49,423 for every AB $833,333 for every HR $185,185 for every game $0 for every bunt— #BecauseBaseball (@TigersSouthpaw) March 27, 2014
so now can Miguel Cabrera sign Stephen Drew— Jeff Sullivan (@based_ball) March 28, 2014
Factor in the Tigers' commitment to Justin Verlander as well, and you may just as well be playing with Monopoly money.
The Tigers are going to pay Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera just under half a billion dollars over the next decade.— Bless You Boys (@blessyouboys) March 27, 2014
The one player who should be thanking the Tigers and Cabrera at the moment is Mike Trout.
If Cabrera gets 10/300 at 31 two years from FA, Mike Trout might make half a billion dollars.— Neil Weinberg (@NeilWeinberg44) March 27, 2014
At this rate, the #Angels will sign Mike Trout for fifteen years at $1,000,000,000.— MLB Play Index (@BRefPlayIndex) March 27, 2014
/Mike Trout nods at Cabrera /Cabrera nods /Both go back to work on spaceship that will take them back to their home planet— Beyond the Box Score (@BtBScore) March 27, 2014
Regardless of the money involved, Cabrera's offensive numbers are just as staggering as his contract.
Miguel Cabrera has 365 home runs, 1,260 RBI & a .321 batting average. Only 7 players have EVER amassed those career numbers.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 27, 2014
Miguel Cabrera average season (last 10 seasons)-- .324 BA, 35 HR, 120 RBI, 191 hits— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 27, 2014
Why is Miguel Cabrera about to get the largest contract in baseball? Because he's really tough to get out pic.twitter.com/VS8KwoTryv— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 27, 2014
But not all of the reaction is about the money. The sabermetric types are taking the deal to task, believing it's too much money for too long for a player who will be too old at the end of the deal.
But an extension is about who he’s going to be going forward, not who he’s already been. Cabrera’s been worth 5 or more wins in 8 of the last 9 seasons and is on a four year streak of 6+ WAR seasons. If we figure you’d pay $6-7 million per WAR on the free agent market, Cabrera would have to be worth 42-49 WAR over the course of the deal to make it balance out.
And that’s not a great bet. Cabrera isn’t the kind of player that ages well defensively, but he’s already found the defensive floor. You don’t really care about anything but the value he will provide at the plate and as long as his body doesn’t break down, but that also puts a cap on the value he can add. If Cabrera ages pretty normally, you’re paying above market rate for a player who just spend the final two months of the season walking around like he’d been shot in the kneecaps.
Speaking of reason, have the Tigers completely taken leave of their senses? Aren’t they nuts for giving Miggy this much? Yes and no. Yes, Miguel Cabrera is clearly one of the most remarkable hitters in the history of the game, and as Dan Szymborski recently observed, he’s someone who could win the Triple Crown again. Who else are you or I going to live to say that about?
So yes, Cabrera is someone worth the price of admission if you’re buying a seat. For now. But paying that much money on a guy’s thirtysomething decade, potentially signing him through his 41st birthday or so? When he’s built that way and should only be playing first base (or DH) from here on out? Yeah, it’s probably also more than a little nuts.
Tigers fans may think differently a decade down the road, but the hearts of those same fans are currently thrilled Miguel Cabrera is not going anywhere. I'll let BYB's own have the last word.
While no one can predict what a baseball player can or will be accomplishing 10 years from now, in the end Cabrera will go down as one of the greatest players the game of baseball has ever known. He'll also be the richest. So enjoy it because you're watching history, and greatness in the making.