Miguel Cabrera Hits The Jackpot

Overshadowing any news coming out of March Madness results yesterday is the announcement that the Detroit Tigers will pay Miguel Cabrera $292M over the next ten years. The way it works out, Cabrera gets an 8-year extension (at $248M) on top of the two years that he has left on his current contract. Moreover, there is a vesting option in the contract that might extend the deal two more years beyond the basic 10 years and those additional years will harvest $30M each for Cabrera. That would bring Cabrera’s total compensation for this contract extension to $352M.

Let me put that figure into perspective for you. According to United Nations data for 2012 (latest figures I could find), there are 7 member states of the UN whose GDP is less than $352M and there are 3 additional “dependent territories” with GDPs less than $352M.

Over the last 4 years, there is little doubt that Cabrera has been a great player. From 2010 – 2013, he has accomplished the following:

    Led the AL in batting average three times
    Led the AL in OBP three times
    Led the AL in slugging two times
    Posted OBP of .999 or greater four times.
    Won the MVP award two times

I know that Spring Training does not amount to a sliver of squirrel snot; but in case you are wondering, this year his springtime batting average is .353 and his OPS is 1.072 over a span of 19 games.

Now for the cautionary tale. In just over 2 weeks, Miguel Cabrera will be 31 years old. A 10-year contract will have him making something in the vicinity of $30M when he is 41 years old and the vesting option would put him on the payroll at $30M for the time when he is 42 and 43 years old. If Cabrera can keep his batting numbers anywhere near the ones he has shown in the past 4 years all the way through this contract extension, he would challenge Babe Ruth as the best baseball player ever. I am not saying he cannot do that. I am saying that the odds are that he will not.

According to a report on CBSSports.com, should Mike D’Antoni get the axe by the LA Lakers, he would be under consideration for the head-coaching job at Marshall. Let us suppose for a minute that such a change of jobs and change of venue would befall Mike D’Antoni.

    He would go from an NBA team to a “low mid-major” college program in C-USA.

    He would go from negotiating with agents for Kobe Bryant to negotiating with the parents of kids who made the second-string All-County basketball team.

    He would go from Los Angeles to Huntington, WV.

Only one comparable coaching slide comes to mind – and the one I am thinking of took place over a 5-year span. Consider the career arc of Ray Jauch:

    In 1982, he was the coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the CFL and had taken the team to the playoffs in 4 of his 5 seasons there.

    In 1983-84, he was the coach of the hapless – and that is being very polite – Washington Federals in the USFL.

    After a year off, he spent the 1986 and 87 seasons coaching Washington and Lee High school football in Arlington, Virginia.

Sic transit gloria mundi…

Recently, Va Tech hired Buzz Williams to coach its basketball team to more than a little bit of fanfare. Williams has been successful at Marquette and many consider him to be one of the bright lights of the upcoming generation of college coaches. Dan Daly – formerly of the Washington Times – had this comment on Facebook:

“Let’s hope Buzz isn’t lightyears away from turning around the ‪‎Virginia Tech‬‬ basketball program.”

Scott Ostler had this observation recently in the SF Chronicle:

“You want to root for Jason Collins, but if he doesn’t want this to be NBA goodbye, he’d better stop playing like a paperweight. In five March games, going into Saturday, Collins logged 52 minutes, four rebounds, two points, two assists.”

Just to update those numbers for you…

    Collins has appeared in 13 games playing a total of 97 minutes this year.

    He has scored 7 points and collected 7 rebounds in those minutes.

    97 minutes is almost exactly 2 full NBA games. Do the math…

Finally, Greg Cote had this item in a weekend column in the Miami Herald a couple weeks ago:

“Longtime Dolphins media-relations maven Harvey Greene now mans a newly created position as vice president of ‘historical affairs.’ Great. Now the club’s obsession with 1972-73 is officially a full-time job.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

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  • Siggurdsson  On March 28, 2014 at 11:58 am

    Talk about “Sick Transit Gloria Monday” for the ‘Fins…every NFL season if a team is making a run towards the “hallowed” record of the Miamians, I heartily root for that team. One day it will be eclipsed…

    I hope…

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On March 28, 2014 at 1:53 pm


      I think the vast majority of fans have tired of the 72 Dolphins.

  • david egbert  On March 28, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    Re: Cabrera. Have you seen this guys body? At 35 he will be done or a vastly overpaid DH.

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On March 28, 2014 at 1:52 pm

      david egbert:

      I agree that Cabrera is not likely to be worth anything near $30M per year later in this contract. At the same time, I wonder if the tigers could prolong his hitting prowess if they just took his glove away now and started him as a permanent DH immediately. It is not as if he adds a lot of value to the Tigers’ defense…

  • david egbert  On March 28, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    The only problem with that idea is they already have Victor Matinez, who can’t play in the field anymore, as the DH at a cool $12 million.

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On March 29, 2014 at 12:11 pm

      david egbert:

      Indeed, V. Martinez is on the roster and can really only serve as a DH. So, perhaps for the 2014 season Cabrera will only get to DH in the event that Martinez is injured or in a desperate slump. However, Martinez’ contract expires at the end of this season. Perhaps, 2015 is the time for Cabrera to take up the DH role?

  • Rich  On March 28, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    If anyone deserves to be the highest paid hitter that would be Miguel Cabrera, but ten year contracts transfer risk onto the teams’ shoulders. If the Tigers win a World Series or three then their fans will think it was all worth it. If they can’t close the deal this fall, or the next seven or eight Octobers then the ownership may refer to Cabrera the way George Steinbrenner whined about Dave Winfield, who he called Mr. May when comparing Winfield to Reggie Jackson. Time will tell.

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On March 29, 2014 at 12:15 pm


      Barring something REALLY strange happening, Cabrera will “earn his money” for the next several years. I do not have a problem paying him $30M a year if that is what the team owner is willing to do; indeed, Cabrera is an outstanding player right now. I think the odds of him continuing to be worth $30M per year when he is 39 years old are very long indeed.

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