Miguel Cabrera and the Detroit Tigers reached a preliminary agreement Saturday on an eight-year, $153.3 million contract extension, a source close to Cabrera told ESPNdeportes.com on condition of anonymity.
The Devil is in the details, but pending those, I'd say this is a wonderful deal for the Tigers. Cabrera is one of the best young hitters to emerge is my lifetime, and anytime you can lock up someone like him for his age 25-32 seasons, you make the deal.
As for Cabrera, there will no doubt be some -- Yankees' fans among them, I'm guessing -- who wonder why he doesn't test the free agent waters first. And they're not necessarily wrong, because I'm guessing he could command more if did so. But for all that gets written about the alleged absurdity of players' salaries, ultimately most of these guys want security, and $150M+ is security. Cabrera -- like all players -- no doubt worries about rotator cuffs, ACLs, and Tony Conigliaroifcation, even if only in the back of their minds.
A bigger question than money might be why he would sign this deal before ever playing an inning in Detroit. A risk, I suppose -- he may hate playing there -- but I'm struggling to think of anyone aside from Juan Gonzales who has ever had issues with Detroit for its own sake. The Tigers are blessed with a good, loyal, and knowledgeable fan base. The Detroit media has never been out to get players. While the city itself is, well, Detroit, players only spend a few hours there before retreating back to Grosse Pointe or wherever. The Pistons and Wings have certainly not had many stars want to leave because of geography.
If I'm Cabrera, the two questions I think about -- which are related -- are (1) how long will this team win?; and (2) who will replace Jim Leyland one day? Unless you're the Yankees or Red Sox, the answer to the first question is always going to be up in the air. The second question is important, but Dombrowski has shown that he knows what he's doing here. Apart from those beasts of the east, I'm having trouble thinking of an organization that has its act together as much as the Tigers do right now.
Other than the hundreds of millions of dollars in this contract, there are no guarantees in life. Given the risks and rewards of the situation, this deal, while a potential steal for the Tigers, looks to be pretty good for Miguel Cabrera too.