Monday, March 31, 2014

Bait & Switch: Are Tax Payers Paying For Baseball's Highest Paid Player?

Red Flags went up yesterday at the front offices of MLB after news broke that Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera was on the verge of signing a new contract that will guarantee the 31-year-old $292 million over the next decade, easily surpassing the previous record of $275 million guaranteed for New York Yankee third baseman Alex Rodriguez

Then if that wasn’t enough, Cabrera’s deal carries vesting options for two additional years worth $30 million each!

ESPN sports announcer / analyst, Buster Olney tweeted: “Haven’t heard as much disgust over a contract from rival execs since the Jayson Werth contract. Industry is in shock over the Cabrera deal.”

 But Tigers owner Michael Ilitch doesn’t need to use the same math as most of his contemporaries because he also owns the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings. Money is fungible. The NHL has a salary cap. Baseball doesn’t.

And the Red Wings, among the most popular teams in hockey, are going to build a new, $450 million arena that will rake in tens of millions of dollars more annually than their current home, Joe LouisArena. 

The new arena is part of a $650 million plan to transform a 45-block area not far from Comerica Park into an entertainment district that will include $200 million in new retail, residential and office space.

Michigan taxpayers are responsible for 60% of the project.

The arena should be open in two years, just about when Cabrera’s rich contract extension begins.  

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