The Indians have not, however, ruled out the idea.
"We're open-minded," Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said on Friday morning at Progressive Field. "It's a question of how does the value and how does the term end up lining up."
Antonetti noted that Cabrera has been in the Cleveland area for the past few days and the sides continue to discuss the details of his contract for the upcoming season. Cabrera, who is under club control through 2013, is the lone arbitration-eligible player who remains unsigned for the Tribe.
On Thursday night, Cabrera attended the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards and was honored as the Cleveland Professional Athlete of the Year. Following the event, the shortstop discussed his ongoing contract situation.
"We are talking right now," Cabrera told reporters. "I want a long contract with a team. I want to stay here with Cleveland."
A hearing date has been scheduled for Cabrera's arbitration case, though the timing of that meeting has not been made public. Assistant general manager Mike Chernoff has been handling the negotiations and the two sides can reach a deal at any point prior to walking into a hearing.
So far this winter, the Indians have settled arbitration cases with starter Justin Masterson, closer Chris Perez, right fielder Shin-Soo Choo, reliever Joe Smith, third baseman Jack Hannahan and reliever Rafael Perez.
The Indians have not gone to a hearing with a player since 1991, when the team did so with Greg Swindell and Jerry Browne. At a hearing, the team and the player's representatives each state a case for their respective salary requests. A panel then selects one of the two proposed salaries for the upcoming season.
Cabrera's camp has requested a 2012 salary of $5.2 million, while the Indians have countered with an offer of $3.75 million. The All-Star shortstop is coming off a stellar season in which he set a franchise record for home runs (25) by a player at his position. Cabrera also hit .273 and collected 92 RBIs in 151 games.
Antonetti declined to comment on the specifics of Cabrera's contract talks.
"We continue to negotiate with his representatives to try to get something done," Antonetti said.