The Tigers have reportedly reached agreement on an extension with Miguel Cabrera which will pay him $292 million over the next 10 years and keep him under contract through at least his age-40 season. If the deal is announced as a 10-year extension, it will be the biggest financial commitment in sports history. While both parties are obviously happy with the new mega-deal, ESPN’s Buster Olney hears that executives around MLB are in shock:
Cabrera is entering his age-31 season now, so it’s not exactly bold to say that this deal probably won’t look very good in the end. Yes, he’s the best hitter in the world right now, but players get old and decline and the odds are against him being the exception. There’s also the matter of timing, as he was already under contract for two more seasons. Was there really a sense of urgency to get this done at this very moment? There’s a ton of money in the game right now and there’s an argument to be made that the players aren’t getting enough of it, but this type of deal just feels unnecessary given his age and what he’s likely to be toward the end of it.
If there’s anybody who is probably peeved by the news of this extension, it’s the Angels. Sure, there have been extension discussions in recent months, but can you imagine what Mike Trout will (or should) demand after this? Oh boy.
The Orioles have inked shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract, MLB.com’s Joe Trezza reported Saturday. The deal comes with an invitation to spring training and will allow Escobar to earn $700,000 in the majors if he breaks camp with the team (via Jon Heyman of MLB Network). The team has yet to formally announce the agreement.
Escobar, 32, completed an eight-year run with the Royals in 2018. No longer the .280-average, 3.0-fWAR player of seasons past, he hit several career lows after batting .231/.279/.313 with four home runs, eight stolen bases (in 10 chances), and a .593 OPS through 531 plate appearances last year. His defensive ratings also took a hit, and FanGraphs pegged him as the fourth-worst shortstop in the majors after he accumulated -12 DRS over the course of the season, only slightly higher than the Orioles/Dodgers’ Manny Machado, Mets’ Amed Rosario, and Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts.
Still, Heyman holds that Escobar is being considered for the starting gig this spring and could yet prove an upgrade over top prospects and infield candidates Richie Martin and Drew Jackson. At the very least, the veteran shortstop figures to stabilize the position given Martin and Jackson’s relative inexperience, as both infielders played to varying results in Double-A Tulsa last year and have yet to break into the majors. Should either player earn consideration for the position in camp, however, Escobar might still work his way onto the Opening Day roster in a utility role as he saw some time at third base, second base, and center field in 2018.