Am I surprised? No. At no time did I think the Tigers and Miguel Cabrera would not get together on a contract extension.
The timing? That's different. I didn't think it would happen this soon.
Look, Miguel Cabrera isn't being overpaid even at 10 years, $292 million. He is the best hitter of his generation and still in his early 30s, television revenue is rising a great deal because of the premium on live entertainment that isn't easily DVR'd, and the Tigers will get a big bump in that area in 2018 when their local TV deal is done.
Cabrera plays every day. He is not a once-every-fifth-day pitcher. Even when his talent level drops, it figures to be high in his late 30s. He has never added much defensively anyway, so any drop in that area is insignificant.
It's a much better value for the Tigers than if Max Scherzer had signed a reported six-year, $144 million contract offer with the Tigers.
Scherzer has been a one-hit wonder. He was a respectable MLB starting pitcher, with more than his share of ups and downs, until last season, in which his numbers were excellent overall, but his 21-3 record the product much the result of superior run support.
The Tigers' offer was more than fair, and the announcement of it, and the ending of negotiations by the club, nothing more than a ploy to get negotiations started in earnest before the beginning of the season. And if Scherzer doesn't sign the deal, it could be one of the best things to ever happen to the Tigers. It's not a given his performance last season wasn't an aberration rather than a trend.
The idea the Tigers are cutting costs with their offer to Scherzer is preposterous. So is the notion that Mike Ilitch isn't calling the shots, and his son, Chris, is, and that Tigers have suddenly gotten cheap.
For one thing, Mike Ilitch is still living, and if anything his advancing age would only accent the urgency to win now.
Chris Ilitch is doing the same thing he has been doing for the last seven years: Heading the operations. Both the Red Wings and Tigers have been run better under his leadership, which has been quiet and behind the scenes. He has let his hockey and baseball people, Ken Holland and Dave Dombrowski, do their jobs.
The Doug Fister trade was a terrible one, at least on the surface (the only thing that can save it is if pitcher Robbie Ray emerges, which is a long shot for most prospects, even solid ones).
But if the Tigers were really cutting payroll for the future, they would have moved Austin Jackson or Rick Porcello, players at the same point of the arbitration process as Fister, but younger, and who will likely be more costly in the future.
It was a rough spring for the Tigers. The injuries to Bruce Rondon, Jose Igelesias and Andy Dirks might be hurtful.
But the core of the club is together. The Tigers did sign Joe Nathan to close. They saved money on the Prince Fielder for Ian Kinsler deal, but Kinsler is still a high-priced player.
There are valid reasons to criticize the Tigers and Red Wings and Ilitch's ownership. OK. Cheap" Cost-cutting on player talent? Not among them. Actually, they've probably thrown good money after bad more than they should have down through the years with both teams.
Cabrera? This was going to get done. Just a matter of time.
Good for Tiger fans it was done sooner instead of later.
My column: Why it's anything but a given Michigan and MSU will get by Tennessee and Virginia in Sweet 16: http://www.theoaklandpress.com/sports/20140326/pat-caputo-says-michigan-msu-face-tough-and-very-similar-tests-vs-tennessee-and-virginia-in-sweet-16
My column: Defensive performance by Red Wings in loss to Montreal truly offensive http://www.theoaklandpress.com/sports/20140327/defensive-effort-by-red-wings-truly-offensive-in-loss-to-montreal-pat-caputo-says