Tigers keep Cabrera with eight-year extension

Lakeland, FL ( - The Detroit Tigers didn't want Miguel Cabrera to even think about free agency, and made the decision to offer the slugger a lucrative contract extension.

He took it.

With two years and $44 million remaining on his current contract, Cabrera agreed to an eight-year extension that runs through the 2023 season. It also includes vesting options for 2024 and 2025.

"When you have a star player, you're much better trying to sign them with two years on the contract rather than one," said Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski at a Friday press conference when asked why he made the offer so soon.

"When you get to that one year away, that lure of free agency becomes very large for a player. Secondly, they get additional pressures to test that market. For me, this was the optimum time to do so."

Financial terms were not disclosed, but multiple reports have indicated the total package over the next 10 years will be worth close to $300 million.

The eight-time All-Star earned the massive payday by putting together consecutive brilliant seasons in Detroit that resulted in MVP awards.

In 2012, Cabrera became the first player since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 to win a Triple Crown by leading the AL with 44 home runs, 139 RBI and a .330 batting average. He captured a third straight batting title last season after hitting a career-high .348, while finishing second in the AL with 44 homers and 137 RBI.

"Miguel is the most prolific hitter in baseball and one of the best players in the game," added Dombrowski. "We are thrilled Miguel had a desire to continue his stellar career in Detroit and remain in a Tigers uniform for many years to come."

After signing an eight-year, $152 million contract with the Tigers in 2008, Cabrera has hit .327 and averaged 38 homers and 123 RBI. His 227 homers, 737 RBI and .588 slugging percentage in that span are all the best in the majors over that time period.

"Since coming to Detroit, my family and I have been treated so great by the organization, so we'd like to thank (owner) Mr. Ilitch, Mr. Dombrowski and all the Tigers fans for all the support," said Cabrera on Friday. "I'm thrilled that I'll continue to represent the great city of Detroit and the amazing fans for many years to come."

Cabrera broke into the majors at age 20 in 2003 with the Marlins and helped the club to a World Series title that season. He spent then next four seasons with the Marlins before joining the Tigers in a December 2007 trade.

The native of Venezuela, who will turn 31 in April, is a career .321 hitter with 365 homers and 1,260 RBI in 1,660 games.