With the way the Detroit Tigers were doing business this week, it stood to reason that Dave Dombrowski wasn't going into the weekend with any unsigned players and potential arbitration hearings hanging over the organization's head. As Matt Wallace reminded me during an IM chat on Thursday night, Dombrowski doesn't do arbitration. Not while he's been running the Tigers, anyway.
Nate Robertson and Marcus Thames were taken care of on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, leaving Bobby Seay and Miguel Cabrera on the docket. Seay was probably going to be a formality. He had a good 2007 season (3-0, 2.33 ERA, 38 strikeouts in 46 1/3 innings), fills a necessary role in Detroit's bullpen, and wasn't going to cost a lot of money. Seay signed a one-year deal worth $780,000.
Cabrera was a bit of a different story. With the type of salary that his production (.320/.401/.565, 34 HR, 119 RBI) called for, maybe he and the Tigers would need arbitration to work out an agreement. But since acquiring him from the Florida Marlins, Team Dombrowski has presumably been working hard to get Cabrera to commit to a long-term contract. That blockbuster deal becomes a little less "block" and not much "buster" if the crown jewel of the offseason ends up playing somewhere else in two years. So the Tigers and Cabrera could work from there, at least.
No long-term deal was signed yesterday, but the two sides did reach an agreement on a one-year deal. Cabrera will earn $11.3 million for his first season in a Detroit Tigers uniform. There's your starting point. The first two years of Nate Robertson's new deal pay out what he was likely to earn in arbitration, and any contract with Cabrera will likely have the same framework.
Danny Knobler says the Tigers still want to work out a long-term contract with Cabrera before Opening Day, but his people wanted to make sure at least a one-year deal was done so arbitration could be avoided. (As Jason Beck points out, Detroit initially worked out a one-year contract with Fernando Rodney last year, before reaching agreement on a two-year deal the next day.)