Sports and Scores
 

Tigers' Cabrera gets record $292M, 10-year deal

(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

By JEFF BERLINICKE


Associated Press

LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) This is one number put up by Miguel Cabrera that is not subject to debate.

The Triple Crown winner agreed Friday to the richest contract in American sports, a $292 million, 10-year deal with the Detroit Tigers.

"I want to finish my career here. I have worked hard to get better, and Detroit is like a house for me," Cabrera said.

Cabrera has won the last two AL MVP awards, both times beating out Angels phenom Mike Trout in votes that set off heated disputes in the baseball world.

Those in Cabrera's corner claimed his fearsome hitting stats and triple-digit RBIs were worthy. Those touting Trout argued he was a better all-around player and pointed to the value of his WAR, sabermetric for wins above replacement.

Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski and manager Brad Ausmus stood by Cabrera, flanking him for the announcement at the Tigers' spring training complex.

"He's on track to be one of the greatest players in the history of baseball," Dombrowski said. "He's done a lot for the team and a lot for Detroit."

Cabrera was due $44 million over the final two years of his $152.3 million, eight-year contract. The new agreement incorporates that money and adds $248 million guaranteed over the following eight years, including an option buyout.

Cabrera turns 31 next month and has helped the Tigers win three straight AL Central championships. A slugger with power to all fields and still very much in his prime, he is among seven players to hit at least .320 with 365 homers and 1,260 RBIs, joining Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, Albert Pujols and Stan Musial, according to STATS.

"Good for him," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said before Cabrera went 1 for 3 in an exhibition against the Rays. "He plays in another stratosphere."

The deal came shortly before opening day in Detroit, on Monday against Kansas City at Comerica Park, and soon after Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer turned down the team's long-term contract proposal.

The Tigers are again among the favorites to go far this season. Cabrera won a World Series ring with the Marlins as a 20-year-old rookie and is trying to bring a title to Motown for the first time in three decades.

Cabrera will make $43,195 per plate appearance under the deal, 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.

His new salaries are $28 million apiece in 2016 and '17, $30 million in each of the following four years and $32 million annually in 2022 and '23. The contract also includes $30 million options for 2024 and 2025 that would become guaranteed if Cabrera finishes among the top 10 in MVP voting in the previous season. If Cabrera doesn't finish in the top 10 in '23, the following year becomes a $30 million team option with an $8 million buyout.

Cabrera's new deal will raise his career MLB earnings to $413.8 million, including the $1.8 million signing bonus he got as a 16-year-old with Florida in 1999 when Dombrowski oversaw the move by the Marlins. Cabrera was acquired by Detroit in a December 2007 trade.

An eight-time All-Star, Cabrera has a .321 career average with 365 homers and 1,260 RBIs. He played 148 games last year despite a sore back and left hip flexor, a strained lower abdomen, shin trouble and a groin tear that hampered him in the postseason and led to offseason surgery.

His body might get more of a break this season. He's moving across the diamond, shifting from third base back to his previous position at first base after Prince Fielder was traded to Texas.

Cabrera takes over baseball's highest-paying contract from Alex Rodriguez, who agreed to a $252 million, 10-year deal with Texas that started in 2001, was traded to the Yankees after three seasons and then signed a $275 million, 10-year deal with New York in December 2006.

Cabrera's average of $29.2 million is second only to the $30,714,286 that Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw averages under the $215 million, seven-year deal he agreed to in January.

A steady presence in the lineup - Cabrera has played 157 or more games in eight of the last 10 seasons - he hit .348 with 44 homers and 137 RBIs last season to win his second straight MVP award. In 2012, Cabrera put together baseball's first Triple Crown since 1967, hitting .330 with 44 homers and 139 RBIs.

Dombrowski started talking with Cabrera's agents, Fern Cuza and Diego Bentz of Relativity Sports, at the end of last season. Detroit also had been negotiating with Scherzer, and those talks broke off last weekend after the pitcher didn't accept an offer for $144 million from 2015-20; he can become a free agent after the World Series.

Cabrera was aware his deal was cause for celebration in his native Venezuela, a nation troubled by turbulent politics and economics.

"I don't think I can do much. They are going through such hard times," Cabrera said. "We have had struggles down there, and they are trying to do their best."

Aiming for its first World Series title since 1984, Detroit agreed last March to a $180 million, seven-year contract with ace pitcher Justin Verlander, the 2011 AL Cy Young Award winner. Verlander didn't sound envious of Cabrera's even greater riches.

"He deserves it," Verlander said. "He is the best player on the planet. He wants to stay in Detroit, and I couldn't be happier for him. That means we are staying together for a long time and can be Tigers for life."

Outfielder Torii Hunter said there's no reason Cabrera can't remain an All-Star through the end of the deal.

"The way Miggy composes himself, you need to see how hard he works behind the scenes," Hunter said. "He's up at 6:30 a.m., he's running, lifting weights. I got my 2,000th hit last year, then I find out that Miggy's only 30 and he's gonna get 4,000 hits and 600 homers. That's something."

Ausmus, the Tigers' rookie manager, smiled during the news conference.

"I'm not going to complain," he said. "Who would when you have the best player in the game?"

Updated March 28, 2014

? © 2014 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

Audio On Demand

Week 3: Around the AFC Ea…

Week 3: Around the AFC East 9-18-14

MFB talks to Sal Cappaccio of WGR in Buffalo, Ryan Ruocco of ESPN NY, and Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun Sentinel

Greg Papa, Raiders Play-By-Play Man, previews Pats-Raiders 9-18-14

From 95.7 The Game, Greg Papa breaks down the struggling Raiders and discusses Charles Woodson's comments that the team sucks

Christopher Price - New drug policy will not shorten Browner and Tyms suspension, 9-17-14

Christopher Price, WEEI.com spoke with the guys about the new NFL drug policy and what it means for certain players in the league. He also spoke about the importance of getting Danny Amendola involved in the offense. The Patriots are still trying to find the BEST way to utilize Chandler Jones. And rookie Raiders QB Derek Carr is a bit of a wild-card heading into Sunday's match up.

Jackie MacMullan, ESPN Bo…

Jackie MacMullan, ESPN Boston, "I think Rondo is going to go, I just don't see where and how yet" 7-17-14

Jackie Mac joins the guys to discuss her thoughts on a possible mid-season tournament in the NBA, LeBron's return to Cleveland, trade rumors with the Celtics and Red Sox, and Darrelle Revis' contract situation.

Jackie MacMullan, ESPN Boston: I believe Rondo will be traded 7-10-14

Jackie MacMullan of ESPN Boston to talk about the Lebron James Saga, the possibility of Rajon Rondo being traded, and the future of Marcus Smart.

OK State Men's Basketball coach, Travis Ford, joins MFB to talk about Marcus Smart, 6-30-14

Former coach of Celtics 1st-round pick Marcus Smart, Travis Ford joins MFB to talk about what Celtics fans should expect from the strong point guard. Among other things, Coach Ford says Smart will be a hard worker, and will improve his shooting ability.

Ben Cherington on Rusney …

Ben Cherington on Rusney Castillo 9-18-14

Ben Cherington discussed the debut of Castillo and his thoughts on Jeter.

Sox Manager John Farrell with Dale and Holley

As the season winds down, We check in Sox skipper John Farrell as we await the Boston debut of Rusney Castillo.

Buster Olney, ESPN, talks Orioles, Red Sox offense, and David Ortiz, 9-17-14

The Orioles seemed to have a lot of fun last night clinching the AL East. Buster said the biggest problem for Boston this year was the offense production dropping so dramatically in one year. Bogaerts, Pierzynski, and Bradley Jr. are the most obvious culprits. Also, Buster surmises that the Red Sox front office has to be a little uneasy with the fact that their best offensive player, David Ortiz, is in this LATE 30's.

The Bradfo Show: Talking …

The Bradfo Show: Talking Bruins roster moves with DJ Bean, Turtleboy

Rob Bradford is joined by WEEI.com Bruins beat writer DJ Bean, as well as Boston sports fan/blogger Turtleboy to talk all things Bruins free agency. With the B's recent moves, the conversation turns to where the Bruins might next turn and what kind of dent losing Jarome Iginla and Shawn Thornton might make.

DJ Bean breaks down the first hours of NHL Free Agency 7-1-14

DJ discusses Shawn Thornton's new deal, and the on going negotiations with Jerome Iginla

DJ Bean, WEEI.com. The Bruins are not traded Marchand 6-13-14

DJ Bean joins the program to dismiss the recent rumors that the Bruins are in discussions to trade Brad Marchand to the Sharks for Patrick Marleau

Ben Cherington on Rusney …

Ben Cherington on Rusney Castillo 9-18-14

Ben Cherington discussed the debut of Castillo and his thoughts on Jeter.

Headlines, Headlines, Headlines : Scrotum removal 9-18-14

The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.

The Vikings apologize 9-18-14

The guys opened the show by discussing the Vikings press conference.

Greg Papa, Raiders Play-B…

Greg Papa, Raiders Play-By-Play Man, previews Pats-Raiders 9-18-14

From 95.7 The Game, Greg Papa breaks down the struggling Raiders and discusses Charles Woodson's comments that the team sucks

Three For All: MFK: Dennis, Callahan, or Minihane? 9-18-14

Party with one, Marry one, and Kill the other. How would you decide?

The Fauria Five 9-18-14

Christian asks 5 questions about the Pats Offense, NFL Power Rankings, Jameis Winston, The Olympics in Boston, and David Pastrinak

Have the Bruins done enou…

Have the Bruins done enough to compete for the Cup in 2014-2015

Dale, Michael (and DJ Bean) discuss the Bruins off-season and whether or not they've done enough to get back into position to win the Stanley Cup.

Ron Washington admits reason for his resignation, plus a shocking Dale Arnold revelation to boot!

We discuss Ron Washington's press conference today, announcing the reason for his abrupt departure from the Texas Rangers this season, and we learn a little something about ol' Dale Arnold too.

Dale and Holley's Four at Four - Bruins Training Camp Debut Edition 09-18-14

We tackle four question marks the Bruins face for 2014-2015 as they open up training camp today.

Jim Koch joins Planet Mik…

Jim Koch joins Planet Mikey

Co-founder and chairman of the Boston Beer Company, Jim Koch, talks about his Sam Adams beer and the history of his brewery.

Danny Picard talks Red Sox and Patriots with Mike Giardi

Danny picard is filling in for Mikey and talks with CSNNE's Mike Giardi about Clay Buchholz heading up the Red Sox pitching rotation, and how the Patriots have looked through training camp so far.

Jon Lester's Contract Situation and the Future

Mut and Villani are talking about whether the Red Sox will give Jon Lester the type of contract he is looking for, or whether they might be shopping him with rumors of the Red Sox scouting Cole Hamels.

Producers Podcast: Sausag…

Producers Podcast: Sausage and Beans 9-18-14

Your beloved hosts are joined by WEEI.com Bruins reporter DJ Bean as well as producer of the Dennis & Callahan Show, Craig "Sausage" Sawisch. Support America: Support Your Local Post Office

Dennis & Callahan's Breaking Balls Podcast: The NFL's hot mess, Jenny Dell and who has bad breath.

Dennis, Callahan and Minihane make their podcast debut. This week's topics include Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy, Jenny Dell and some discussion on people we've encountered with the worst breath.

Minor Details Ep. 100: A minor centennial with Rob Bradford, Mike Hazen and Jim Callis

The 100th Minor Details podcast revisits some old friends, as WEEI.com's Rob Bradford, Red Sox assistant GM Mike Hazen and MLB.com prospect guru Jim Callis, who were the guests on the first show in November 2010, join the show anew.

Jim Souhan on Adrian Pete…

Jim Souhan on Adrian Peterson 9-17-14

Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Adrian Peterson.

More from this show

Adrian Peterson finally r…

Adrian Peterson finally reprimanded 9-17-14

The guys react to the Adrian Peterson news.

More from this show

Peter King with Dale and …

Peter King with Dale and Holley

We check in with Peter King from SI/MMQB for our weekly look at the National Football League and more.

More from this show

Headlines, Headlines, Hea…

Headlines, Headlines, Headlines: Everett gets a casino 9-17-14

The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.

More from this show

Rodney Harrison chooses n…

Rodney Harrison chooses not to comment on Adrian Peterson, 9-16-14

Former Patriot and current NBC Sports Analyst, Rodney Harrison talks about how bad the Pats looked in a convincing win. The guys also tried to get him to talk about the Adrian Peterson accusations and he refused.

More from this show

Weei Writers