Dombrowski: Tigers will keep Cabrera

Dombrowski: Tigers will keep Cabrera

ANAHEIM -- There isn't much trade speculation that will draw a strong reaction from Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski, especially this early in the season. When asked if he had any reaction to the weekend speculation that Miguel Cabrera could be available in a trade later this season for payroll reasons, Dombrowski pounced to rule it out.

"I think it's absurd, absolutely absurd," Dombrowski said Tuesday night prior to the Tigers' series opener against the Angels.

"We have no interest in trading Miguel Cabrera," Dombrowski said. "We have had no talks regarding Miguel Cabrera. Not only is it one of the last things we would ever consider, we have an owner [Mike Ilitch] who would never let that happen. This is our core player who's our foundation."

The speculation came from analysts on ESPN over the weekend, based partly on the idea that the faltering economy in Detroit could force the Tigers to shed payroll, namely Cabrera's lucrative contract. He's scheduled to make $15 million this year, then $126 million over the next six years as part of his eight-year, $152.3 million deal signed before last season, just after the Tigers acquired him from the Marlins.

Another reason for the speculation was the season-opening slump from Boston slugger David Ortiz and the possibility that the Red Sox could try to trade for another slugger if Ortiz couldn't pull out of it.

Dombrowski said he heard the rumor twice on television over the weekend and was upset about it for Cabrera's sake. Cabrera entered Tuesday leading the American League in batting average and hits to go with four home runs and 12 RBIs.

"This is our core player who's our foundation," Dombrowski said.

As for the Tigers' economics, Dombrowski said season-ticket sales are in the "middle of the pack" among Major League clubs. They're off mainly in comparison to the record totals reached in 2008, and not so different from 2007.

Dombrowski also pointed to owner Mike Ilitch and his track record of building teams around star players with the Red Wings and the Tigers in recent years. It was Ilitch, after all, who put forth the idea of trying to trade for Cabrera two offseasons ago. It's also Ilitch who has committed money to improve the Red Wings over the last two years in spite of the Michigan economy.

"There's nothing that can happen this year that's going to make us think about trading Miguel Cabrera," Dombrowski said.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.