The $31 million average annual value on Cabrera's contract shatters the former average annual value record of $30.7 million, set by Clayton Kershaw's extension with the Dodgers earlier this offseason. The Tigers' third baseman has been to eight All Star games, won two American League MVPs, and five Silver Sluggers. His career has included a triple-crown season, the first since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967, and only the 16th ever.
The 31-year-old to be won the American League Most Valuable Player award in 2013, hitting a triple-slash line of .348/.442/.636 with 44 home runs and 137 RBI (187 OPS+) in 148 games. He posted marks of a 7.5 WAR and a oWAR of 9.2, proving that he is one of the best players in not only the American League, but in all of the Major Leagues. That is why he is worth $292 million over the next ten seasons.
Cabrera's mastery has come throughout his entire time in his professional career. After being signed by the then Florida Marlins in 1997, Cabrera sped to the Major Leagues, appearing in his first MLB game in 2003. Before the 2008 season, Cabrera was traded to the Detroit Tigers, and since then he has posted a .327/.407/.588 slash-line with 227 home runs and 737 RBI in 940 games. Overall, Cabrera has a career slash-line of .321/.399/.568 with 365 home runs and 1,260 RBI.
Although this contract seems a little outrageous, especially after Cabrera missed some time during the season due to lingering injuries, the Tigers hope that a move back to first base will keep Cabrera in their lineup full time beginning in 2014. The Tigers traded 2013 first baseman Prince Fielder to the Texas Rangers in order to open a spot for Nick Castellanos, a top third base prospect in the organization. Cabrera's legs will have less stress at first than at third.
Initial reactions have thought that this deal is a bad one, as we have seen deals that have kept older players (Cabrera will be 40 when his guaranteed contract expires) under contract well past their peaks (Ryan Howard is a prime example). But, if there is one guy that truly deserves this type of a contract, it is Cabrera. He has dominated pitchers throughout his 10 years, 101 days of service time in the Major Leagues. The Tigers hope that he will continue to for his next 10 years as well.