Only four days after the Detroit Tigers announced they had opened negotiations with Miguel Cabrera to reach a contract extension, the Tigers and Cabrera signed the largest contract extension in Major League Baseball which spans eight years and $248M. This puts Cabrera's collective contract with the Tigers at 10 years and $292M including the $44M/two years he has remaining on his current contract.
The terms of the contract also state there will be two vesting options in 11 and 12 years' time, each pulling in an additional $30M. Not only will Cabrera's contract will go down as the largest in baseball history but the average annual salary is now "the largest in professional sports . . . on Planet Earth," according to FOX Sports Jon Morosi.
Miguel Cabrera is not only the richest player in sports history now but by the time his career ends he may be the most decorated in baseball. It all started when at the ripe young age of 16 years old Miguel Cabrera was being sought after by the baseball powers that be. At 17 years old he was playing for the Miami Marlins in the minors. By 20 he was playing at a major league level. Cabrera hasn't changed his approach to baseball that much in over 15 years.
Any adjustments Cabrera makes are done to improve the solid foundation he built when he was young and to compensate for an ever-evolving pitching environment. From the moment he steps up to the batters box, the way in which he taps home plate with his bat and how he places himself as far back into the batter's box as he can go, it's all the same. He's always been this way.
His first big league appearance in 2003 resulted in a walk-off home run. During his rookie year Cabrera went to the World Series with the Miami Marlins and became a World Series Champion. A hauntingly high level of concentration was present at a very young age and at only 20 years old he was giving pitchers fits.
Cabrera is not yet 31 and already consistently regarded as one of the greatest hitters of all time. Some of the greatest players of all time have said Cabrera may go down as the greatest right-handed hitter of all time before it's all said and done.
Cabrera has been on the lists of 'firsts' and 'only' discussions so many times it would make your head spin. He's been compared to the all time greats of Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson and Mickey Mantle to name a few. Fans everywhere love him and he has shown his appreciation to them with countless memorable moments. He's broken more records than you would care to count.
It's hard not to look through Cabrera's statistical and achievement record and not have your own eyes pop out of your head. That sound one often hears is a person's jaw hitting the floor when they read over Cabrera's numbers for the first time. Those stats don't change even when injury threatens to slow Cabrera down. Last year Cabrera battled through an injury riddled second half of 2013 and refused to undergo major core muscle surgery until the season ended in October.
When the 2014 spring training season came around, Cabrera could be found at the field before the sun was up on a daily basis. In fact, he had begun spring training before any of the team had even begun to pack their bags. Being held accountable only to himself Cabrera was grinding away in the wee hours of the morning, getting ready for the upcoming 2014 season.
Cabrera makes the game of baseball feel like a video game by ordinary standards and specializes in putting opposing pitchers and players alike to shame. Every time someone tries to put him in a box, he tears it apart and finds a new planet to conquer. Conversations about Cabrera aren't whether he will be an all-time great but rather that he already is one of the all-time greats.
Yet for all the greatness that Cabrera brings to the table, what makes him so great is he doesn't think he is. He marvels about the fact that he has the privilege to learn from his childhood hero and fellow Venezuelan and Tigers defensive and base-running coach Omar Vizquel. Cabrera is always learning and his ability to adjust to any situation on a pitch-by-pitch basis is astounding.
Everything is crucial information for Cabrera which turns him into a better player and he has a unique gift to see that information in a special way. It's the reason he's so good at what he does. What's more, Cabrera truly enjoys the game of baseball on another level that most may never understand.
For all the nightmares he has given other players, you'll often find him chatting it up on the bases and everywhere else almost as if he's grown up with those he talks to. He's earned respect because he is respectful of everyone around him. He doesn't let much get to him and knows how to appreciate the game of baseball in its purest form.
When Miguel Cabrera's contract is up he will be 41 years old, not including the two years in vesting options. 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.