DETROIT – The Detroit Tigers are doubling down on Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera.
The team has agreed to pay Cabrera a baseball-record $292 million over the next 10 years, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.
The person, who said the contract is subject to a physical, spoke Thursday night on condition of anonymity because the agreement had not been announced.
Cabrera is due $44 million over the final two years of his $152.3 million, eight-year contract that runs through 2015, and the person says the slugger will make $248 million over eight seasons in the new deal.
Depending on whether Cabrera’s deal is structured as one 10-year contract or an eight-year deal starting in 2016, it will either surpass Alex Rodriguez’s $275 million, 10-year agreement with the New York Yankees for the richest contract, or Clayton Kershaw’s record for average annual value of $30,714,286 in the $215 million, seven-year deal he signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers in January.
The Tigers and their owner Mike Ilitch, who desperately wants to win a World Series, will close spring training showing their fans they are willing to pay what it takes to keep great players in today’s market.
The franchise offered right-hander Max Scherzer $144 million over six years recently, but the AL Cy Young Award winner turned it down, likely setting himself up to become a free agent after the season. Detroit dealt Prince Fielder and his $214 million contract in November to Texas for second baseman Ian Kinsler, sending $30 million to the Rangers as part of the swap.
Clearly, the Tigers want Cabrera to end his career in the Motor City.
Cabrera, who turns 31 next month, has been voted AL MVP in each of the last two seasons. He is the first player to win the award in consecutive seasons since Frank Thomas did it two decades ago.