"One friend of Cabrera told Rumblings that there have been enough informal conversations that both sides expect a deal to get done, and possibly sooner than later."
While no one knows how close this friend is to Cabrera, Stark is a respected reporter and feels comfortable enough with this source to report it.
Cabrera, the reigning AL Triple Crown winner and AL MVP who is scheduled to be a free agent after 2015, is arguably the best hitter in baseball today.
This season, Cabrera is leading the AL in average (.373), RBI (66), hits (88), runs (47) and on-base percentage (.450). With 17 home runs as well, he could easily win his second straight Triple Crown title.
Now that we've established what a great offensive threat Cabrera is, the question shifts to what it will take to sign him long-term.
Stark asked that same question to some baseball executives, and this is what they had to say:
Some executives have speculated something along the lines of three years, $90 million, with a vesting option or two, tacked onto the $44 million he has coming in 2014-15. But a three-year extension would only take Cabrera through age 35, and the guaranteed portion of the Fielder and Verlander deals both carry them through their age-36 season. So it's hard to imagine Cabrera wouldn't dig in for at least a four-year extension, and possibly more.
"I see this as more like five years times $28 [million]," said another exec. "I think he takes the lower AAV to get an extra year or two. In the end, more money."
The length seems short for a player of Cabrera's caliber. The numbers being speculated on would help ease fans' concerns that it wouldn't require an Albert Pujols- or Alex Rodriguez-type deal. This would allow the Tigers flexibility that other teams don't usually have the luxury of entering into with superstar free agents.
Another positive is that the Tigers organization is very tight-lipped when it comes to deals with players. Until the Tigers announced Justin Verlander's contract extension in March, no one knew they were even close on a deal. This would allow Cabrera not to be distracted by constant questions from reporters about how talks with the Tigers are progressing.
The last remaining question is: Could the Tigers still afford to invest that much money in a slugger who would be 33 at the start of the 2016 season?
Cabrera is a special player who has remained durable throughout his playing career. Still, if Cabrera starts to age, then the Tigers could be stuck with a contract that would hinder future signings.
Either way, with this fascinating news about Cabrera and the Tigers, fans now have hope that Cabrera could retire in a Tigers uniform.
*All statistics are accurate as of June 7.
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