Apr 4, 2012, 11:19 AM EDT
Cabrera was already under contract for $4.55 million this season after avoiding arbitration with a one-year deal and would have been arbitration eligible for the final time in 2013, so a two-year contract pre-pays for that and also buys out his first year of free agency in 2014.
Cabrera hit .273 with 25 homers in 151 games last season after hitting .284 with a grand total of just 18 homers in his first 387 games. However, his .794 OPS last year wasn’t that far out of line from his previous .741 career mark and at age 26 he’s right in the middle of his prime.
Obviously the Indians are betting that Cabrera’s out of nowhere power breakout last season was legitimate, or at least suggests he’ll maintain more power than he showed prior to 2011, but even if that proves to be a one-year fluke his defense and on-base skills are plenty valuable too.
Cabrera gets a big chunk of guaranteed money, the Indians delay his free agency for another year, and he can still hit the open market as a 29-year-old.