Reports say Tigers extend Cabrera
Deal expected to be eight years at $19 million per season
LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tigers didn't officially announce their agreement on Miguel Cabrera's contract extension on Sunday, but they were already celebrating it.
Dontrelle Willis walked into the clubhouse on Sunday morning and gave his long-time teammate a big hug.
"When I got my deal, he was happy, called me up," Willis said. "And I remember when I got called up [to the big leagues], he was the happiest guy. I feel the same for him."
Ramon Santiago walked over and shook Cabrera's hand. Carlos Guillen, when asked how he was feeling Sunday morning, joked that he felt like $100 million.
Actually, in Cabrera's case, the reported number was significantly more than that. The extension, reported to be an eight-year deal through 2015 -- the Tigers are counting the one-year deal they negotiated for this season as part of the contract -- is expected to be formally announced once Cabrera clears a physical.
Diario Panorama, a newspaper based in Cabrera's home country of Venezuela, first reported the agreement Saturday morning. ESPNdeportes.com also reported the deal Saturday.
Cabrera played coy on Sunday. When a reporter offered congratulations, Cabrera cracked a slight smile and a puzzled look and said, "For what?"
Cabrera did, however, go into the reasons for wanting to stay a Tiger for the long term.
"I'm glad to be here," Cabrera said. "I want to be a part of this team for many years. I like it, and I feel comfortable here."
That's a good feeling for the Tigers, whose most pressing goal upon trading for Cabrera became signing him to a long-term contract. Without one, he would've been eligible for free agency after the 2009 season, making him one of the best young hitters on the open market since Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez after the 2000 season.
"There are definitely a lot of people who want to be in our spot," said Willis, who signed a three-year, $29 million extension in December. "There are definitely a lot more people who want to be in his spot."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.