Cabrera relates to pressure of Harper's deal

Tigers slugger signed $152.3 million deal at 24 years old

March 1st, 2019

LAKELAND, Fla. -- A superstar player signed a massive contract at a young age? has been there. He also knows the challenges that come with it.

Cabrera was just 24 years old when he signed an eight-year, $152.3 million contract with the Tigers, who had just traded for him a few months earlier. He had the largest contract in Tigers history before he even played a game in the Old English D.

Seven years later, Cabrera signed for the largest annual salary in Major League history when he agreed to an eight-year, $248 million extension. While , , and now have signed contracts surpassing Cabrera’s total money in recent years, his average salary of $31 million remains third-highest in MLB behind Arenado and Arizona’s .

In the case of Harper and Machado, like Cabrera’s first contract, it’s coming at a relatively young age. For Cabrera, it also came with a large amount of pressure for a player who had just been traded to Detroit in exchange for six minor leaguers, including the Tigers’ top two prospects.

Cabrera admits he wore that pressure in his first season in Detroit in 2008.

“I think that first month, I tried to do everything,” Cabrera said. “After that, I just hit everything and I was comfortable.”

Cabrera homered in his first game as a Tiger, the home opener at Comerica Park. However, he batted 6-for-36 in his first 10 games that season in 2008, striking out 10 times. A four-hit, five-RBI game in Cleveland in mid-April set him back on path.

Cabrera set career highs with 37 home runs and 127 RBIs that season, leading the American League in homers, but the Tigers struggled to a last-place finish. His .292 average and .887 OPS were both down from his career averages to that point.

The next year, Cabrera hit .324 with 34 homers, 103 RBIs and a .942 OPS, the first of five consecutive seasons batting at least .300 with a .900 OPS.

If Cabrera has any words of wisdom, it’s to not let the contract change the fact that it’s baseball.

“It doesn’t matter what I get paid, it’s still the same game,” he said.

Tigers, Fox Sports Detroit announce TV schedule

As expected, all 162 Tigers regular-season games will be televised. Fox Sports Detroit will carry 160 of them, the network announced on Friday.

The two games FSD isn’t scheduled to televise, both in June, are slated for other networks as part of national broadcasts. ESPN has the Tigers’ June 13 game against the Royals in Omaha ahead of the College World Series, while Detroit’s June 22 game at Cleveland is scheduled for FS1.

Fox Sports Detroit will have an expanded two-hour pregame show for the Tigers’ home opener on April 4 against the Royals.

Getting his work on

Five days after Tyson Ross survived a 30-pitch first inning against the Phillies, the big right-hander had a wild second inning in Friday's 7-1 loss to the Mets, walking three straight batters and throwing three wild pitches. He finished out his work, but with 18 strikes on 41 pitches, it wasn’t pretty.

"I just kind of lost my release point, three walks in a row, and it took me longer than I'd like to make the adjustment necessary," Ross said. "[Pitching coach] Rick [Anderson] came out and was able to make the adjustment, induce a double-play ball and get out of the inning, but in-season I have to make that adjustment quicker."

Ross gave up an Amed Rosario home run to lead off the game. He finished with three runs on three hits in two innings, striking out one.

Up next

The Tigers welcome the Braves to Joker Marchant Stadium on Saturday for a 1:05 ET game. Jordan Zimmermann will make his second start of the spring opposite Max Fried. The radio broadcast will be available on 97.1 FM in Detroit and MLB Gameday Audio online.