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September 20, 2017

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Tigers to pay Cabrera US$292 million over ten years

DETROIT -- The Detroit Tigers have agreed to pay Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera a Major League Baseball-record US$292 million over the next 10 years, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.

The person, who said the contract is subject to a physical, spoke on Thursday to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the agreement had not been announced.

Cabrera is due US$44 million over the final two years of his US$152.3 million, eight-year contract that runs through 2015, and the person says the slugger will make US$248 million over eight seasons in the new deal.

Depending on whether Cabrera's deal is structured as one 10-year contract or an eight-year deal starting in 2016, it will either surpass Alex Rodriguez's US$275 million, 10-year agreement with the New York Yankees for the richest contract, or Clayton Kershaw's record for average annual value of US$30,714,286 in the US$215 million, seven-year deal he signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers in January.

The Tigers and their owner Mike Ilitch, who desperately wants to win a World Series, will close spring training showing their fans they are willing to pay what it takes to keep great players.

The franchise offered pitcher Max Scherzer US$144 million over six years recently, but the Cy Young Award winner turned it down, likely setting himself up to become a free agent after the season. Detroit dealt Prince Fielder and his US$214 million contract in November to Texas — less than two years after giving it to him — for second baseman Ian Kinsler, sending US$30 million to the Rangers as part of the swap.

Clearly, the Tigers want Cabrera to end his career in the Motor City.

Cabrera, who turns 31 next month, has been voted MVP in each of the last two seasons. He is the first player to win the award in consecutive seasons since Frank Thomas two decades ago.

The Venezuelan slugger won the Triple Crown in 2012 — becoming the first player to lead either league in batting average, homers and RBIs since 1967, when Boston's Carl Yastrzemski pulled off the rare feat.

Cabrera followed up that startling accomplishment with another strong season at the plate despite struggling to stay healthy. He led MLB with a .348 batting average last year, and his 44 homers and 137 RBIs were both second to Baltimore's Chris Davis.

Cabrera was limited to 148 games last season — after playing 161 in each of the previous two years — because of a sore back and left hip flexor, a strained lower abdomen, shin trouble and a groin tear that led to an offseason surgery.

The eight-time All-Star has appeared to be healthy during spring training.

Injuries seem to be the only thing that can stop Cabrera.

He has a .321 career batting average with 365 homers and 1,260 RBIs, numbers that rank him with the greatest sluggers in the history of the game. He has played six seasons in Detroit after spending his first five with the Marlins, where he won the World Series in 2003.

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