It's not official, but it sure looks like the Cleveland Indians will get Asdrubal Cabera's signature on a new two-year contract that will keep the shortstop under team control through the 2013 season.
Here's Paul Hoynes (via Cleveland.com):
The team has yet to confirm the extension, but another source did. The deal is reportedly worth $16.5 million. Cabrera signed a one-year, $4.55 million deal over the winter to avoid arbitration.
Cabrera, 26, is in his fifth big-league season. He would have been eligible for free agency after 2013. The two-year extension buys one year of Cabrera's free agency.
Cabrera broke through last season with 25 home runs and 92 RBI, but he did sacrifice some batting average and walks to gain that power. Which seems a good trade-off if he can maintain the power output.
Opinions about Cabrera's defense are uneven; while Ultimate Zone Rating and even Indians management suggest that Cabrera is adequate at best, the Fielding Bible describes Cabrera as "a slightly above-average defender for the Indians".
Either way, if Cabrera hits .308 with middling power (as in 2009) or .273 with good power (2011) he's worth well more than $8 million per season. So if he's healthy, this contract should be a bargain for the club, especially in 2013.