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Domino effect

How Cabrera's deal could influence Holliday, Teixeira

Posted: Monday March 24, 2008 4:24PM; Updated: Tuesday March 25, 2008 3:19PM
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Matt Holliday
Matt Holliday has 70 homers and 251 RBIs over the last two seasons.
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Also in this column:
• Leyland, Torre scouting trade market.
• Deals that haven't happened ... yet.
• Notes from around the camps.

Miguel Cabrera's new $152.3-million Tigers agreement through 2015 came fairly quickly and with relative ease. However, that doesn't necessarily mean things will go just as easily for the Rockies in their attempts to extend star outfielder Matt Holliday into his free-agent years, or for the Braves in their efforts to lock up star first baseman Mark Teixeira.

In fact, the Cabrera contract could actually prove to be a hindrance to the other two deals.

It all may depends on how one views Cabrera's deal. And how one views Cabrera. While Cabrera is considered as talented as anyone in the game, Holliday and Teixeira score high as leaders and aren't a threat to fall out of shape.

Speaking of the extension that will pay Cabrera $20 million annually, one baseball official said, "If he matures, he's worth $25 million. If he doesn't, he isn't worth close to the $20 million."

Cabrera suggested immediately upon joining the Tigers that he was interested in staying long-term and the club said similarly hopeful things, so it was no shocker the sides quickly compromised on a contract extension.

Cabrera loved the idea of teaming with his idol, Magglio Ordonez, and another respected Venezuelan countryman, Carlos Guillen. He was surely thrilled to join a team awash in cash after spending his formative years with the dirt-poor, pay-as-you-play Florida Marlins.

The new deal, once finalized, will pay Cabrera almost exactly $20 million a year (since the Tigers previously agreed to pay him $11.3 million for 2008, the extension is for exactly $141 million over seven years).

The cases of Holliday of Teixeira, though, are more complicated and less predictable.

The Rockies and Braves would love to keep Holliday and Teixeira long-term, respectively, but there appears to be a lot of work to do before a deal can be reached in either case.

Both players are believed to like playing for their current employers. But the Rockies and Braves, two previous big spenders, have taken steps to curtail spending in recent years, and it isn't known how much of a "hometown" discount those two stars would be willing to accept.

Very little has come out regarding the multi-year contract discussions involving Holliday (who is to make $9.5 million this year and $13.5 million next year) and Teixeira (who'll make $12.5 million this year), who are both represented by superagent Scott Boras. In any case, there's little evidence that the sides are getting close to a deal in either case.

In both cases it is believed the teams would be willing to offer in the range of $18 to $19 million annually to cover the free-agent years and are interested in total commitments of up to seven years. Those are monetary figures comparable to the annual salaries for Andruw Jones ($18.1 million) and Torii Hunter ($18 million) in the free-agent deals they received this past winter.

Holliday and Teixeira are worth more on the open market, but they aren't there yet. So far, neither has jumped to make a long-term commitment.

One issue for Colorado could be the $143-million, nine-year extension it gave Todd Helton as a four-year player (Holliday is also a four-year player). It could be hard to convince Holliday he should get less, in terms of either dollars or years.

One issue for Atlanta is that it knows Teixeira already rejected Texas' offer of $144 million over eight years last summer. And that was before Teixeira went on a tear for Atlanta (he had 17 home runs and 56 RBIs and batted .317 in 54 games with the Braves).

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