Reports: Tigers sign Cabrera to $153 million contract

cabrera.jpg
credit Roger DeWitt

ESPN.com is reporting that Miguel Cabrera and the Tigers have agreed to an 8 year contract totaling $153.3 million. The deal is to be announced Monday pending a physical.

This is of course the biggest deal in franchise history, and it’s befitting a franchise caliber player. Locking Cabrera up long term was no doubt a priority from the moment THE TRADE was completed back in early December.

We’ll have to wait for the details of course, but I’d assume that this contract supplants the one year deal signed in January. Meaning that Cabrera will be donning the English D through 2015. So the Tigers lock up one of the premier hitters in the game for his age 25-32 seasons. What’s not to like?

If it is in fact replacing the existing deal, or essentially a 7 year extension on the $11.3 million he’s going to make this year, then it is $20 million per year from 2009 on. The chances of him reaching $20 million in 2009, the last year of arbitration, are small. Cabrera would probably be in line for something around $14-15 million next year. But even if they are paying more in ’09 it still looks to be a solid deal in aggregate.

Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA system only projects out 7 years, but for each of those years Cabrera projects to be a $20 million a year player according to the BP metric MORP. Tom Tango’s salary chart reveals that an 8 year – $151 million contract implies 5 wins above replacement. BP sees Cabrera as more than 5.3 wins above replacement through 2014. I don’t trust BP’s defensive metrics though and would probably discount their WARP total accordingly.

Also, the BP method of WARP differs from the method that Tango employs. His methods can be found in the comments here. I tried to follow them (could have botched them as well) and pegged Cabrera between 4.5 to 5 wins above replacement. So depending on the methodology the numbers say the deal is either reasonable/slight overpay or quite fair.

The one thing that the pure WARP numbers don’t extrapolate is the impact of having a player with extraordinary superstar abilities. The wins and losses are accounted for, but not the good will built with the fan base for securing a player of that magnitude. Or the potential revenue associated with having a hall of fame quality hitter through the prime of his career.

Committing that many years and dollars to any player is a little scary (look what happened to Juan Gonzalez). But if you’re going to do it, then do it with a 25 year old player who already has 4 years of offensive excellence under his belt.

15 Comments

  1. Eric Jackson

    March 22, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    From the ESPN article, it sounds like the 8-years does not include the already agreed upon salary for this year.

    “Cabrera, 24, was eligible for arbitration in 2009 and could become a free agent after the season ended. He will earn $11.3 million in 2008, and then an average of $19 million per year through 2016.”

    So, through 2016. I like this.

  2. Deaner

    March 22, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    Thanks for the info bilfer… this is big news!

  3. Kyle J

    March 22, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    Hard to believe $153 million can be a bargain, but it is. $19M per year for a guy’s who’s only 24 years old. Compare to the A-Rod contract: $27 million per year–for two extra years–for a guy who’s already 32.

  4. Kurt

    March 22, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    This is obviously great and exciting news. That is actually a lot less than most people expected him to cost. Maybe there really is something to the idea players want to be in Detroit.

  5. yak

    March 22, 2008 at 9:32 pm

    Looks like Easter came a few hours early. I was holding my breath about “The Trade” until now. Well done Dave Dombrowski. I wish Maybin, Miller, and the rest good luck, but this trade now seems like a fleece.

  6. David

    March 22, 2008 at 10:34 pm

    cool

  7. Jonathon

    March 22, 2008 at 11:06 pm

    Yes, the trade can now be considered very successful, upon the news of the big contract. Its also good to have cabrera as the future of the team locked up with a few of the other stars aging.

  8. Chris in Nashville

    March 23, 2008 at 1:00 am

    Man…this is great news. This guy is the truth.

  9. jvwalt

    March 23, 2008 at 1:32 am

    If there is any player in baseball who is worthy of such a contract, it is Miguel Cabrera: Established superstar-level hitter, still hasn’t reached his prime years. Middle-of-the-order power is one of the two rarest commodities in baseball — the other being top-line starting pitcher.

    There is always the chance of injury; just look at Albert Pujols. But in baseball’s economic system, this deal is a no-brainer. If you want a hitter like Cabrera, you have to give this kind of contract. And if there’s any wage inflation at all in the next eight years (a virtual certainty), this contract will become an absolute bargain. I’m surprised Cabrera didn’t hold out for more, and I have a feeling the MLBPA wishes he would have, the better to drive up the scale for everyone.

    Plus, as a practical matter, the Tigers made an absolute commitment to Cabrera when they made the big trade. On that day, he became the future of the franchise. The contract is just the confirmation of that reality.

  10. Steve

    March 23, 2008 at 7:39 am

    Sweet Deal on the signing. Lets GO !!! Batter up. I think we are all ready for the season.

    We just need the weather to co operate. It has been nasty in the north. The team is coming together long term, which is nice. The only bummer will be getting tickets, but hey thats what road games are for.

    Have a great Easter.

    Steve

  11. tiff

    March 23, 2008 at 9:24 am

    time to buy some Pizza Pizza!

  12. Eric Jackson

    March 23, 2008 at 9:27 am

    http://blog.mlive.com/tigersin.....ken_f.html

    Granderson to the DL? This was not the expected result from getting hit by the pitch yesterday.

    http://detroit.tigers.mlb.com/.....8;c_id=det

  13. K-man

    March 23, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    Good thing we locked this guy up before he experienced a Michigan spring!

  14. meric13

    May 13, 2008 at 10:23 pm

    Looks like he’s worked off about $1000. worth so far- talk about a waste of money!!!

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