CLEVELAND — On the eve of a new season, the Cleveland Indians locked up one of their best players for a few more.
The team and Asdrubal Cabrera finalized a three-year contract on Wednesday, a deal that adds two additional seasons at $16.5 million for the All-Star shortstop. Cabrera will make $4.55 million this season, $6.5 million in 2013 and $10 million in 2014.
The agreement was announced one day before the Indians’ 2012 season opener at home against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Cabrera, who would have been eligible for free agency after next season, said Wednesday that he would like to play in Cleveland as long as possible.
“This is the team I want to be on my whole career,” Cabrera said.
General manager Chris Antonetti said the sides have been working on the extension for four months.
“He has established himself as one of the best shortstops in baseball,” Antonetti said. “With that as the foundation, we obviously had an interest in extending Asdrubal’s term here and as importantly, Asdrubal from the very beginning of the process demonstrated and continued to communicate that he wanted to be an Indian and that he wanted to be an Indian longterm.”
The 26-year-old Cabrera had a breakout season in 2011, batting .273 with 25 homers and 92 RBIs. Before last season, the switch hitter had just 18 career homers. Cabrera led AL shortstops in RBIs, was tied for first in hits (165) and was second in doubles (32) and runs (87).
Before giving Cabrera his new deal, the Indians did not have a player signed past 2012.
Cabrera was a steadying force for the Indians last season, when injuries finally overwhelmed the club and erased a surprisingly strong start. He earned his first All-Star selection, won a Silver Slugger following the season and set a franchise record for home runs by a shortstop.
Cleveland acquired Cabrera from Seattle in 2006 in a trade for first baseman Eduardo Perez. Cabrera has batted .281 with 43 homers and 258 RBIs in 538 games with the Indians.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
Indians give Cabrera 2-year, $16.5M extension
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