Indians finalize $16.5 million deal with Asdrubal Cabrera

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Asdrubal Cabrera and the Indians have agreed to a two-year, $16.5 million contract extension, with an official announcement today that he’ll make $6.5 million in 2013 and $10 million in 2014.

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.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.