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.
The Angels’ bench is looking woefully thin this winter — so thin, in fact, that manager Mike Scioscia says he’s considering utilizing starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani as a pinch-hitter and pinch-runner on the days he’s not scheduled to pitch.
I’ve never had a pitcher pinch-run,” Scioscia told reporters Saturday. “There’s more bad than good that can come out of it. But Shohei is not just a pitcher. He’s a guy that has the ability to do some of the things coming off the bench, whether it’s pinch-hit or pinch-run, and we’re definitely going to tap into that if it’s necessary, because we feel we’re not putting him at risk. It’s something he’s able to do.
Granted, spring training allows for a certain amount of experimentation before managers and players decide what works best for them, so this may not be the strategy the Angels employ for the entire season. In addition to coming off the bench between starts, Ohtani is also expected to see 2-3 days at DH every week, forcing Albert Pujols to shift over to first base to accommodate the new two-way star.
Ohtani’s hitting prowess has already been well-documented — he has a lifetime .286/.358/.500 batting line from NPB and crushed a batting practice home run during his initial workouts with the team this week — but his skills on the basepaths have received less attention so far. MLB Pipeline describes the 23-year-old phenom as a “well-above average runner” whose speed has yet to manifest stolen bases: he’s nabbed just 13 bases in 17 chances over the last five years. That’s a number Scioscia hopes to see increased this season, though he doesn’t want his ace pitcher making any head-first slides on the basepaths to do so.
To be sure, it’s an unorthodox role for any young player to step into, but if anyone can pull it off, Ohtani can.