It doesn’t take a Peter Gammons to know that soon-to-be-31-year-old Miguel Cabrera is historically good, that is to say, players like him do not come around every other season. He’s a once in a generation-type talent, and the proof is in his consistent-yet-simple production at the plate: Spray pitches thrown all over the strike-zone, with power, to all fields.
See, baseball is easy.
In his 10 years in the bigs, Miggy has only hit below .300 in three seasons, the first two being his rookie and sophomore years with the Marlins (he still ended up with the RoY Award, making the All-Star game, and finishing 13th in MVP voting during those seasons, respectively).
Now he’s being paid for all that work he’s put in. $295 million for 10 years (it’s actually more complicated than that), which will effectively put him at close to $30 million a season (with incentives) up until the point he turns 42, which is widely considered an impossible age to still be productive — let alone worth $30 million.
Well, when it comes to baseball’s historic greats (a group Cabrera is undoubtedly a part of), the sun still can shine well into your late 30s, so it’s not crazy to expect a talent like Cabrera to continue to produce toward the latter half of this monstrous contract. The naysayers have been out in full force comparing him to Pujols and A-Rod, who’ve disappointed after receiving similarly ridiculous contracts. Some are still struggling to comprehend why a baseball player would be given such a lucrative long-term deal at this point in their career (despite being in their prime, which Cabrera is).
Point taken — it’s not wrong to assume that guys get complacent, hurt, or become less focused when they’re 30 and know they’ll never have to work for another baseball contract as long as they live — but it’s also not a given that players will break down and become “shells of their former selves” as early as their mid-30s (or even early 40s).
Let’s take a look at the seven best seasons players have had over the age of 37, shall we?