By Dan Hasty/Follow Dan on Twitter @DanHasty34!
Too many years? Yes. Too much money? Absolutely. Will he be a shell of himself at the end? You bet.
Is it worth it? Without question.
Baseball executives are panicking after Miguel Cabrera signed his record-setting contract extension, spanning a total of 10 years at a reported $292 million with the Tigers.
There’s no question this deal is too long. Big guys like Cabrera’s don’t tend to age gracefully, but this is about much more than a dollar figure.
Baseball salaries are skyrocketing. Look at the New York Yankees off-season. They gave Jacoby Ellsbury a reported $153 million over seven seasons. What makes him the most valuable?
His elite speed, which as history shows, is set to hit a rapid decline beginning this year, and be virtually nonexistent in three years.
Factor in an injury history that would make Louis Delmas jealous, and you have the post-Tampa version of Carl Crawford.
It also bears mentioning they gave a pitcher who’s never thrown a pitch in affiliated MINOR-league baseball, let alone the major leagues a seven-year, $155 million contract, plus a $20 million posting fee to Japan for Masahiro Tanaka. This deal should be far more concerning than Cabrera’s.
Many compare this contract to what the Los Angeles Angels gave Albert Pujols (10-years, $240 million). Sure, the dollar amounts were similar, but the biggest difference is this: Cabrera earned it here in Detroit. We all know exactly why, and have had constant reminders of what makes him the most feared hitter in baseball since the moment he arrived.
Pujols hadn’t done a thing for Angels fans, and all fans had were highlights of his dominance over what was inferior National League pitching. If you want to compare a contract to what the Angels gave Pujols, compare it to the other first baseman that signed a big contract that off-season: Prince Fielder.
Perhaps, the biggest benefit of the Cabrera contract is a virtual guarantee the team will continue to spend and stay competitive, which some fans questioned after the teams conservative off-season. In a way, Cabrera himself keeps a team established. He alone changes a teams culture.
The truth is, the Tigers could let Max Scherzer leave after the season, and could find someone else to be a number two starter. If a player like Cabrera walks, you may be inclined to tear the team down and begin the rebuilding process.
Now, more than ever, the Tigers will have to find great value through it’s farm system. That’s why the production of Nick Castellanos is vital to the Tigers 2014 success, but it can’t stop there.
This team desperately needs to start producing more young talent and depth in case injury troubles continue, much like we’ve seen to start this season.
It’s a lot of money, but someone was going to pay it. Be happy it was the Tigers. He deserves this. Enjoy it, and don’t get caught up in what happens down the road.