When Max Scherzer went around the clubhouse collecting the signatures necessary for players to receive their playoff bonuses, Miguel Cabrera said,
“I’m not signing anything.”
He went on to say,
“I just want the ring.”
What does this say about Cabrera, who’s poised to make well over $200M over the next decade as a Detroit Tiger? Perhaps it says he’s content with the amount of money he’s making, or perhaps it says he’s not willing to take bonuses for reaching the playoffs, because he doesn’t see it as an achievement. One could argue Cabrera could donate his share of the money to charity, but he’s already doing a lot of that.
Mostly, what it says to Detroiters is, he wants to bring a championship to home, and no bonus is going to help the Tigers achieve that. Cabrera is doing well to embody the spirit of the 2000s Pistons, who will forever be known as the Going to Work Pistons. People in Southeast Michigan can get it. It’s not about anything other than work.
Cabrera is starting to get it, too.
The Tigers haven’t won a World Series since 1984, but have reached the ALCS the past three years. In 2006, under manager Jim Leyland, the Tigers reached the World Series as a Wild Card, but lost to the St. Louis Cardinals four games to one.
They went back to the Fall Classic in 2012, but were swept away by the Giants in four games.
After reaching the ALCS for the past three years, one can imagine that a playoff bonus wouldn’t be much of an incentive, especially for Cabrera who’s been there for all three.
The time is now, and Cabrera’s made the statement that distractions (even more money) are not going to get in the way of his ultimate goal.