Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
Realistically, the Tigers trade for Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis only makes clear sense if the Tigers are able to lock up Cabrera beyond 2009 - and that means the Tigers are going to have to make a serious financial investment. With two years of arbitration eligibility left, Cabrera can't yet clamor for free agent big money, but when that time comes around, $20 million per season wouldn't be an unrealistc starting point. So, if the Tigers are serious about locking up Cabrera and making him a part of the team's long term future, a contract figure starting in the nine digits is going to be a real starting point. The Tigers are likely in line to see an offer of something like 6 years, $100 million needed to keep Cabrera around.
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
If the Tigers are serious about locking Cabrera up through some of his first free agent years, then they are going to have to pony up some serious cash. On the open market, Cabrera stands to push $20 million per season, and the Tigers must be prepared to start approaching that figure. Given that there are still two years of arbitration remaining for Miguel, the Tigers may not have to go that high too quickly but in order to provide him with incentive to sign the deal, they're going to have to provide him with additional salary at the start. In addition, the Tigers can't be too greedy in terms of years, as Cabrera will likely be looking for at least one more big pay day at some point close to his prime. A deal on the order of six or seven years, averaging about $17 million may get some serious discussions going between the two parties.
Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
I think the Tigers would look at two scenarios for locking Miguel Cabrera up. They could do something reasonably short-term that would buy out Cabrera of his first few years of free agency, and still allow him to hit the market in the prime of his career. I would think $75 million over five years (average $15 million) would be reasonable considering the raises he'll get through arbitration before he hits free agency in two years. If the Tigers wanted to go for broke, they could offer him a 10-year deal that I would guess would start at $200 million ($20 million average), but that figure could easily get pushed northward considering the numbers he's put up so far in his career. It will be interesting to see how the Tigers approach Cabrera with regards to getting him an extension.
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