The Detroit Tigers were very lucky to get themselves out of a ridiculously bad contract when they traded Prince Fielder to the Texas Rangers for Ian Kinsler. They still have a bad contract on the books but it ends sooner, and is far easier to work around. The money they saved in the short term will likely be used to resign starting pitcher Max Scherzer but star slugger Miguel Cabrera will be a free agent after the 2015 season. Many believe that the long term money saved should be used to resign Cabrera long term. There is no way of telling how much Cabrera would be worth on the free agent market at 32 years of age, and the Tigers need to keep the lesson they just leaned in Fielder fresh in their minds before they sign another ridiculously bad contract.
I am in no way saying the Tigers should not resign Cabrera. I am saying they should look at what works for them and what does not. The Fielder contract was too big, too hard to work around. Cabrera is finishing up a 8 year 152.3 million dollar deal he signed with the Tigers in 2008. There is no rationale argument that says the Tigers should sign him to a Albert Pujols style deal. By the time his current deal ends Miguel will have played his best baseball and that should be reflected in his annual salary.
For 152 million dollars the Tigers got Miguel in the prime of his career, they got one of the best hitters of this generation, and they got two MVP awards out of him. That was money well spent and if he brings a World Series title to Detroit before his deal is up the team will have gotten all that it dreamed of when the trade was originally made and the massive contract was signed. But that does not mean they should sign him to another massive deal.
Let’s take a look at what is good about the Tigers massive payroll. That is simply this short, manageable, contracts for aging players that being a lot of value to the team on and off the field. By the end of 2015 Cabrera will be that and given the fact that is a Detroit institution now maybe giving the guy a four year deal that factors in his inevitable decline in talent and ability. That is the way of the world, and the last thing the future Tigers need is a 10 year 240 million Pujols style deal.
The main problem there is contracts for athletes tend to go up not down. By the end of his current deal Cabrera will have made at least 20 million dollars a year for five seasons. There is no argument to there that he did not earn that, but now we are talking about his next deal. In 2015 he will be 32 years old, and how many more 20 million a year season will he be worth? I think his return from off season surgery and his performance in 2014 will go a long way towards determining that.
That’s why the tigers and their fans should not even worry about Cabrera this off season. There is plenty of time for that next off season. BY then the equation could change. Most likely it will change and maybe, should the Tigers win the World Series next year, you give the man most responsible for that a puffed up deal to reflect that.
Let’s be clear here there are no home town discounts, and if someone is willing to pay Miguel 100 million dollars on his next deal that should be on them and the Tigers should in no way get stuck with a deal that makes improving the rest of the team impossible. I would like to see the Tigers and Miguel come to an agreement on a three year 65 million dollar deal with an option for a fourth year. Granted logic and the size of baseball contracts rarely go hand in hand.