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 Guillen signs 4 year extension 
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Post Guillen signs 4 year extension
Guillen gets 4 years, $48 million

Tom Gage / The Detroit News

LAKELAND, Fla. -- After less came more.

As a contrasting bookend to the three months Kenny Rogers will miss, the Tigers announced four more years Friday for shortstop Carlos Guillen.

Before the final out of a 6-2 victory over the New York Yankees at Joker Marchant Stadium, and with a smile replacing his earlier concern, Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski's mood markedly improved.

Another long-term contract had been agreed upon -- a four-year extension for $48 million that will keep Guillen under contract with the Tigers through 2011.

Guillen, who is making $5 million this season, will receive $12 million in 2008, $10 million in 2009 and $13 million in 2010 and 2011. His current deal pays him $14 million for three years. According to, he also has a partial no-trade clause.

"Negotiations really got going in earnest at the beginning of this week," Tigers vice president and chief negotiator John Westhoff said.

"There were a lot of compromises on both sides," Dombrowski said, "but we're thrilled to get this done. We've experienced emotions at both levels today."

One of the compromises the Tigers made was the addition of a fourth guaranteed year. Both sides got a laugh about that.

When Guillen was asked why a fourth year was so important to him, Dombrowski intervened by saying, "Yeah, why was it?"

"Because I want to finish here," Guillen said. "I know this team is going to win for a long time. I want to bring a World Series ring to Mr. Ilitch (Tigers owner Mike Ilitch)."

Added Dombrowski: "Sometimes you give to get deals done. We think Carlos will continue to be a good player four years down the road. He has great instincts for the game and has grown into being one of the leaders on our club.

"It was a compromise, but he compromised, too, in some situations."

Manager Jim Leyland was pleased, of course.

"What I like about it the most is that this organization is going to sign good players and great people," he said. "Carlos fits into that category -- and that's more important to me.

"He's a heck of player, but he's also a heck of a person. That's what we're going to try to do here. We got Brandon Inge, Jeremy Bonderman and Carlos Guillen signed (since last season) -- and we'll have some more in the near future down the road.

"Can we handle them all? I don't know. But Guillen is both a heck of a person and player, and that's important for a franchise.

"I'm tickled to death for him. He's happy -- and I'm really happy. I'm happier than he is, because the more players you get that the manager doesn't have to worry about, the better off you are.

"Here's a veteran player who never says 'boo.' That's a treat. Managing isn't an easy job, but it's easier when you start with quality people -- and he's a quality person."

But will he be a quality shortstop for the next four years? Or will we begin to see another position, such as first base, becoming part of Guillen's future?

"It wouldn't shock me if he played shortstop another four years," Dombrowski said, "but we also asked him if he'd be willing, later in the contract, to play another position and he said: "Anything to help."

There won't even be a hint of a switch this year, though.

"I've already had that conversation with Carlos," Leyland said. "I told him I might have to play him at first base for an inning once in a while if I pinch-ran for (Sean) Casey, and he said: 'Whatever you want me to do, I'll do.'

"But I also told him (before he signed), I'm not going to play you at first base other than those situations because it wouldn't be fair.

"I said, 'It's your free-agent year, you're a shortstop and you're going to go on the market as a shortstop. So I'll play you at shortstop' -- and I told the organization the same thing.

"Now that we have him signed, I'm not going to change. By the time he plays first base, I might be pulling a wagon. That's too far ahead for me."

Guillen, who has hit no lower than .318 as a Tiger, was acquired from Seattle before the 2004 season for Ramon Santiago and a minor leaguer.

Santiago has since returned to the Tigers organization and is at Triple-A Toledo.

That trade, and the one that brought Placido Polanco from the Phillies for Ugueth Urbina (now in a Venezuelan prison), rank as Dombrowski's biggest steals.

What a pleasant surprise this was. I thought there was no way they could keep him past this season. Guillen had said before that he wanted to finish his career here, but then again so did Ben Wallace.

This is a nice relief from the whole Kenny Rogers deal.

Oooh! Aaah! You wish you were a Chippewa!

March 31st, 2007, 12:16 pm
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Boy he got a heck of a raise, He'll be well worth it, if he stays healthy.

Black & Blue used to be a way of LIFE!!!

March 31st, 2007, 1:11 pm
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