x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Say hello to the highest-paid athlete in the world

Miguel Cabrera’s contract extension with the Detroit Tigers has produced a 10-year deal with the Major League Baseball club worth US$292 million (Dh1.1 billion) – the biggest guaranteed deal in the history of world sport.

Detroit Tigers' Miguel Cabrera smiles at catcher Gerald Laird after a pitch during a workout at Comerica Park in Detroit on Monday, Oct. 22, 2012. AP Photo/Paul Sancya
Detroit Tigers' Miguel Cabrera smiles at catcher Gerald Laird after a pitch during a workout at Comerica Park in Detroit on Monday, Oct. 22, 2012. AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Miguel Cabrera’s contract extension with the Detroit Tigers has produced a 10-year deal with the Major League Baseball club worth US$292 million (Dh1.1 billion) – the biggest guaranteed deal in the history of world sport. Paul Oberjuerge of The National looks at the numbers.

The deal

The Venezuelan signed an eight-year contract extension worth $248m over the weekend. When that is added to the final two years of his previous Detroit deal, worth $44m, he will be paid $292m for the 10 seasons through 2023.

Now second

Alex Rodriguez, the New York Yankees infielder, previously had the most lucrative pact, a 10-year deal worth $275m. The biggest contract in football is Lionel Messi’s with Barcelona, an eight-season deal through 2015/16 worth $148.8 million.

Cabrera’s CV

The infielder was voted Most Valuable Player the past two seasons, during which he hit 88 home runs. Check out this video of his 2013 highlights. Justin Verlander, his teammate, said: “If he stays healthy, I don’t see why he can’t be the best hitter of all time.”

Controversy

Many in baseball have criticised the Tigers for committing so much money to a player who will be 40 in 2023. According to ESPN, an executive for a rival club said: “I don’t understand it. I haven’t talked to one person who understands it.”

Justification

Dave Dombroski, the Tigers president, said: “I didn’t want to lose ... one of the greatest hitters of all time.” He said they spent what it costs to keep a player of his calibre.

Jealous?

Basketball’s LeBron James, who is perhaps a bigger star than Cabrera, has a six-year deal with the Miami Heat worth $110m, but the NBA has a salary cap, unlike baseball. He said he was “amazed and a little jealous” when he heard of Cabrera’s deal. “I said, ‘Wow’.”

poberjuerge@thenational.ae