Paul Wezner, Senior Editor
Carlos Guillen's contract extension offer will be no easy matter. On one hand, he was the Tigers' best hitter in 2006, arguably one of the best hitting shortstops in all of baseball, and did so at a relative bargain. On the other hand, Guillen is 31 years old, and any long contract extension would take Guillen into his mid 30's, at which point he may not be able to perform at the same level as he is now (especially defensively). With all that said, if the Tigers' medical staff is confident in Guillen's ability to stay healthy as he ages, there's no reason the Tigers shouldn't throw out an offer of four years between $45 and $50 million. Julio Lugo, who is just over a month younger than Guillen, just received four years for $36 million from the Red Sox, and Guillen is a far superior player to Lugo. Ultimately, if the Tigers hope to keep Guillen in a Tiger uniform, they'll have to pay for it.
Mark Anderson, Associate Editor, Minor Leagues
The Guillen contract should be an interesting ordeal for the organization. Here you have a player who has easily been your best player over the last few years, but also carries significant injury concerns and is on the wrong side of thirty. There is little doubting Carlos' current value to the team, both as an offensive star -- yes star -- and as a leader on the field. He's a tremendous player, and the Tigers aren't a contender without him. However, his range is diminishing at short and he is blatantly injury prone. This year's market has been insane, and it should be making Guillen smile from ear, to ear. His market value likely sits in the $10-14 million range, for a fair number of years. Because of the significant uncertainty surrounding his long term health and ability to remain viable at short, I'd like to see the Tigers offer more money over a shorter duration. It may be tough to get his signature on the dotted line, but the organization still has to act in its best interest. In the end, I think I'd toss him a 4-year deal for a total of $56 million, with a couple of vesting options tacked on the end of the deal, based on plate appearances over the final season or two. While it might be overpaying slightly, I'd rather spend the money than give him extra guaranteed years when he may or may not be a legit player when that time rolls around.
Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
Guillen will be one of the trickier extensions for the Tigers to do. Guillen turns 32 next September, and will certainly command a hefty contract, but my main concern would be length of years. I would go no more than four years, because Guillen does have a history of injuries, and the last thing the Tigers want is to be saddled with a contract that could be cumbersome in allowing the team to make the necessary moves to stay in contention. I would say if the Tigers went four years for around $44-50 million, that would be a solid contract. Guillen would be only 36 at the end of the deal, and could still get one more nice payday if he continues to produce.
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