Huge deal for Miggy!
Huge deal for Miggy!
Miguel Cabrera kept a straight face for almost all of today's 25-minute news conference to announce his eight-year contract extension worth a reported $31 million per year.
For record-keeping, the Tigers have submitted the contract as a 10-year, $292-million deal. That includes the $22 million that Cabrera is owed this year and the $22 million he is owed next year on his existing deal. Under this reckoning, Cabrera doesn't break the record for average salary held by Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw ($30.7 million).
He is 30, and the deal will keep him with the Tigers at least until he's 40. There are vesting options that could extend the contract another year or two.
"I want to finish my career as a Tiger," Cabrera said. "I want to be here for many years to come."
A few moments later, he elaborated.
"I feel comfortable here," he said. "We've been in the playoffs the last three years. It's going to be a great team for many years to come. We've got a new manager."
At this point, he smiled and laughed as he turned and looked at manager Brad Ausmus, seated to his right. (Cabrera also had an excellent relationship with Jim Leyland, the manager who, in '08, fearlessly moved Cabrera to a new position: first base.)
"This is a great organization," Cabrera continued. "We have a great owner. We have a great president like Dave (Dombrowski). Great front office. They make you feel comfortable here. They make you feel like this is your house, the place you want to be.
"We have great fans in Detroit. We have a great stadium. I love to play in Detroit. I want to be part of the Detroit family for a long time."
Cabrera told Jorge L. Ortiz of USA TODAY: "The most important thing for me and my family, and I made this clear to my agents and they agreed, was the years. I've always said if the team gave me the years, I would have no problem signing and trying to finish my career with Detroit. I wanted to play till age 40 and finish my career with one team.''
This is a landmark deal on several levels:
- It apparently ensures that if Cabrera goes into the Hall of Fame, he will do wearing a Tigers hat on his plaque. If he had left as a free agent after the 2015 season, and if he had challenged the career marks of Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth with another team, then the Hall of Fame might have enshrined him wearing that team's hat.
- For the second straight year, the Tigers ended spring training by giving a record contract to a franchise player. Last year, Justin Verlander got a $180 million deal — at the time, the most money committed to a pitcher. Now they gave Cabrera an eight-year extension with the highest average value — $31 million per season — that a player has ever received in a contract. These records are set by the Tigers, who don't play in a metropolis big enough for two major league teams. They play in an Upper Midwest industrial city. Cabrera and Dombrowski, the club president and general manager, both stressed how owner Mike Ilitch made the deal happen. Once again, Ilitch clearly is willing to use his ample fortune to keep stars on the field for his baseball team.
- If Cabrera keeps performing anything like he has in his first six Tigers season, he has a chance to become the greatest Tigers hitter ever — greater than Ty Cobb, greater than Al Kaline, greater than Hank Greenberg.
He didn't say topping them was his goal. As when he signed his current deal in 2008, Cabrera said today that his No. 1 goal is to win a world championship. He has one of those, as a rookie with the Florida Marlins in 2003.
Cabrera will make $45,858 per plate appearance under the new deal's $31 million average annual value, based on his yearly average of 676 plate appearances during six seasons with the Tigers. That's higher than the average U.S. yearly wage of $42,498 in 2012, according to the Social Security Administration.