The Tigers were unable to come to an agreement with reigning Cy Young winner Max Scherzer on an extension, but per Heyman's report, still feel good about locking up Cabrera well into the future. The two-time reigning AL MVP, who turns 31 in April, is in the seventh season of an eight-year contract he originally signed with the Tigers back in 2008 and is set to make $22 million both in 2014 and 2015.
Cabrera would likely be in for a raise. Heyman speculates that Cabrera could top Alex Rodriguez's record-breaking $27.5 million annual salary, although the length of any potential contract with the 11-year veteran is unknown.
Cabrera has held down the heart of Detroit's lineup since the Tigers traded for him prior to the 2008 season. The Venezuelan native hit .348/.442/.636 with 44 home runs and 137 RBI for the Tigers last season, a year after winning his first MVP award. In 2013, Cabrera set career-high marks in batting average and slugging percentage, while also tying his highest home run total for a single season. He has been named to eight All-Star teams and placed in the top five of MVP voting on seven different occasions.
Locking up Cabrera to an extension would help bring some relief to a busy and bumpy offseason in Detroit. The club traded Prince Fielder, and his large, long-term contract, to the Rangers for Ian Kinsler back in November. It also dealt Doug Fister to the Nationals for three players, including infielder Steve Lombardozzi.
The Tigers flipped Lombardozzi to the Orioles on Monday for journeyman shortstop Alex Gonzalez, who the team hopes can take over for injured starter Jose Iglesias. However, considering Gonzalez's age (37) and recent injury history, the team might need a more capable option at shortstop.
What that means for Detroit's talks with Cabrera is unknown. He is still two years away from free agency, but that hasn't slowed the Tigers from hoping they can tie up their slugger far into the future, especially halting negotiations with Scherzer on any potential extension. Even without Scherzer, though, the Tigers are optimistic they can keep the two-time AL MVP in Detroit well beyond 2015.