Tigers, Cabrera Agree on Deal

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Miguel Cabrera and the Detroit Tigers have reached a preliminary agreement on a $152.3 million, eight-year contract, according to a person familiar with the deal.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Sunday because the contract was not yet final. The third baseman must pass a physical before the agreement can be finalized.
Cabrera agreed on Jan. 18 to an $11.3 million salary for this season. The new deal adds $141 million over the following seven seasons.
Cabrera will earn $15 million in 2009, when he would have been eligible for salary arbitration. He will average $21 million annually over the next six seasons, when he would have been eligible for free agency.
Cabrera's average salary of $19,037,500 will be the fourth-highest in the major leagues behind those of New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez ($27.5 million), New York Mets pitcher Johan Santana ($22,916,667) and Boston left fielder Manny Ramirez ($20 million).
His deal will be the fourth-highest package. Rodriguez is starting a $275 million, 10-year contract, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter is entering the eighth season of a $189 million, 10-year deal and Ramirez is in the final guaranteed season of a $160 million, eight-year contract.
Aspects of Cabrera's agreement were first reported by ESPNdeportes.com.
Ace Justin Verlander said just having Cabrera around has been a positive for the team.
"What stands out to me is his personality around the clubhouse," Verlander said. "Everybody knows how good of a ballplayer he is, but he's also great around the clubhouse and is a good teammate."
Slugger Gary Sheffield said signing Cabrera to a long term deal shows the team is committed to winning now and in the years to come.
"He's a future-type player," Sheffield said. "Anytime you can get a player with that amount of years on this team, you're looking at multiple championships."
Detroit acquired Cabrera from the Florida Marlins during December's winter meetings along with pitcher Dontrelle Willis.
Cabrera averaged 32 homers and 115 RBIs while hitting .318 the past four seasons for the Marlins. The only players to at least match him in their averages in all three categories over that four-year span were Albert Pujols and Vladimir Guerrero, according STATS LLC.
Willis has often said matter-of-factly that Cabrera will be in the Hall of Fame.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland echoed the a similar sentiment at the start of spring training after saying he wanted to help him become a complete player.
"Hopefully someday when he goes to Cooperstown," Leyland said, "people won't just say he was one hell of a hitter."
Cabrera has struggled at times at third base -- making 23 errors last year and 17 the previous season -- after primarily playing in the outfield during his first two full years in the majors.
Leyland has been pleased with Cabrera defensively, saying he has good hands and a better-than-expected arm following a recent exhibition.
The four-time All-Star was criticized by some last year for his weight, but reported to camp with the Tigers in Lakeland, Fla., after dropping some pounds. He drew rave reviews for his conditioning from teammates, such as Carlos Guillen, who have known him for years.
Florida sent Cabrera and Willis, the last players left from the Marlins' 2003 World Series championship team, to Detroit for six prospects. Cabrera made $472,000 two years ago and $7.4 million last season, when he was eligible for arbitration for the first time.
Two years ago, Cabrera hit a Marlins-record .339 while joining Pujols, Rodriguez and Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg as the only players to hit 25 homers and 50 doubles in a season before turning 24.
He followed that up with career highs in homers (34) and RBIs (119) last season.

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