Which player (if any) must the Tigers absolutely work out a contract extension with?
Aug 26, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) hits a two run home run in the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Emmerich: I’m not sure there is anyone who is a must. Scherzer is a pitcher entering his thirties with unstable delivery mechanics. Giving him a Verlander-like contract seems fraught with peril. Everyone assumes the Tigers will resign Cabrera. His historical comps suggest he will age well. Hank Aaron and Frank Robinson, two guys Baseball Reference suggest Cabrera most resembles statistically, both remained fabulously productive into their late thirties. Cabrera’s career could very well follow the same arch. But the Tigers should play this thing out until 2015, making sure 2014 isn’t another injury-riddled season and that Cabrera doesn’t have a Pujols-like plummet in the next two years.
Tom Zahari: Miguel Cabrera without a doubt. Cabrera is the best hitter in the game and there is no question about it. He hits for power; he hits for average; he hits to every part of the field. I doubt the Tigers will be able to resign Max Scherzer unless he is given the money that it will take to resign Cabrera, and I would much rather have Cabrera around for the next seven years. If there is one person to extend, it is the best offensive player in the game and a player that will go down as one of the greatest in Detroit Tigers history.
Matt Pelc: Miguel Cabrera. The two notable Tigers who have contracts up are Miggy and Max Scherzer. Max has really put it together the last few seasons and there’s no reason to believe he won’t continue to be very solid (though a repeat of last year is probably not going to happen), but Miggy is truly a rare, once-in-a-generation talent. As much as I’d hate seeing Max heading elsewhere, the thought of Miggy finishing his career in another uniform is sickening. He has plenty of great years ahead.
Matt Snyder: I really think the Tigers should lock up Austin Jackson for the long-term. Fans get frustrated with his elevated strikeout rate, but he’s been a very productive player in each of his four major league seasons, averaging either 3.5 WAR (FanGraphs) or 4.5 WAR (Baseball-Reference) per season, depending on your taste in computation (either way, $20 million+ in value). Detroit still holds two years of team control on the will-be-27 year old, but I’d love it if they could lock him up for five more years or so (through the traditional ‘peak’ years).
Grant Stoye: I love Scherzer, but Cabrera is the centerpiece of this whole team, and hopefully he can retire a Tiger. He should be priority number one.