Miguel Cabrera will get $2 million for MVPs and $1 million for Triple Crowns

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As part of his new eight-year, $253 million extension with the Tigers reigning back-to-back MVP Miguel Cabrera has bonuses for winning the award again or capturing another Triple Crown in the future.

Via the Associated Press, beginning in 2016 his contract will pay an additional $2 million for each MVP award and another $1 million for each Triple Crown, which is leading the league in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in.

So, if the deal would have been in place previously Cabrera would have been in line for an extra $3 million in 2012 and $2 million in 2013. Interestingly, he won the so-called sabermetric Triple Crown in 2013 by leading the league in batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage, but the Tigers didn’t put any bonuses for that into the extension.

MVP voting will also have an impact on the 2024 and 2025 team options in his contract, because they kick in for $30 million each season if he finishes among the top 10 vote-getters the previous year. All of which means baseball writers with MVP votes have the ability to make Cabrera a whole bunch of extra money, particularly since a top-10 finish typically only requires a few up-ballot votes. Of course, who knows what the MVP voting process will look like come 2025. By that point they might just let Mike Trout pick a winner each year.

A.J. Hinch: “We’ll use every pitcher in Game 7 if we have to”

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It’s not entirely clear why the Astros threw Ken Giles into the ninth inning of Game 6 of the ALCS. With a six-run advantage and the bottom half of the Yankees’ lineup due up, pushing the series to its seven-game capacity looked like a sure bet. Giles may be one of Houston’s better bullpen arms, but he’s not their only option, and it would have made more sense to keep him fresh for a do-or-die Game 7 on Saturday night.

Of course, there’s no such thing as a sure bet when it comes to postseason baseball. That’s more or less what Astros’ manager A.J. Hinch had to say after the game, telling reporters that he had envisioned a quick three outs from his closer as they tried to pull back from the brink of elimination. “We didn’t have the luxury of limping into that inning,” Hinch said. “We’ve seen how these guys can explode in these innings.”

It’s not difficult to recall the Yankees’ explosive drive in the eighth inning of Game 4, when they exploited the holes in Houston’s ‘pen and evened the series with Gary Sanchez‘s go-ahead double off of Giles. Back home in Minute Maid Park, however, there was a slightly different feel to the eighth and ninth innings of Game 6. Jose Altuve led off the eighth with a solo home run, followed by Alex Bregman‘s two-run double and Evan Gattis‘ sac fly. In the ninth, Giles labored through a 23-pitch outing to lock down the win, handing out a base hit and a seven-pitch walk before eventually whiffing Chase Headley on three straight pitches for the last out.

So, while Hinch’s decision to lean on Giles in Game 6 may have felt wasteful, his concerns were not entirely unfounded. He’s prepared to roll with the same strategy during Saturday’s series finale, too, leaving nothing on the table as the Astros battle for their first World Series showdown since 2005. According to Dallas Keuchel, that means all hands on deck — except for Justin Verlander, whose four wins, 24 strikeouts and 1.46 postseason ERA have gotten the Astros as far as he could possibly be expected to take them. “No pitcher is going to be in the dugout,” said Keuchel. “They’re all going to be in the bullpen, myself included. Any way we can help out, we’re trying to get to the World Series, the same way the Yankees are, and that’s a nice feeling to have.”

Does that mean Giles will be available for a Game 7 appearance? Stranger things have happened. Joe Sheehan notes that the right-hander has pitched in back-to-back days 13 times this year, though he’s never thrown as many as 23 pitches on Day 1. Granted, he likely doesn’t have enough left in the tank for another 20+ pitch run on Saturday, but with the World Series on the line, any help he can offer will be invaluable.