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Carlos Guillen gets 4 years, $48 million extension

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The Detroit Tigers and Carlos Guillen have agreed to a 4 year, $48 million contract extension, that kicks in beginning in the 2008 season.

Interesting deal, and one that provides a useful counterpoint to the Michael Young deal...they are both shortstops, and both Guillen's extension and Young's extension kick in beginning in their respective age 32 seasons.

Young is getting about $15 million per year for 5 years, Guillen getting $12 million per year for 4 years, and Guillen is a better player than Young...this deal would suggest that the Rangers overpaid to keep Young, particularly given that it runs for an extra year and given that the Rangers were two years away from having Young be eligible for free agency, versus Guillen being eligible for free agency after the season.

There are a couple of key differences, though, that have to be kept in mind.

First, the Tigers just went to the World Series last season. And while fans all claim that players care only about the money, I think the reality is that for the majority of players, it takes less to get them to commit to a team that is winning. The Tigers, at this point, are going to have to pay less to keep a player than the Rangers are because of this recent success.

Secondly, and more important, while Guillen is a better player than Young, Young has been more valuable than Guillen most years because Young has been exceptionally durable, while Guillen has a history of being susceptible to injury, and has played more than 140 games in a season only once in his career.

With Young, you have a pretty good idea that he'll be able to go out there everyday during the course of the contract, which makes committing to him less risky from that standpoint. Guillen, however, is someone who has been fragile, and there's a much greater risk that, if you have him, you'll end up only getting him for a half or three-quarters of a season.

Overall, though, I think this is a very solid signing for the Tigers, particularly when you consider there is little in the way of quality free agent shortstops who will be hitting the market this offseason (unless you count that guy playing third for the Yanks right now).