Table of contents for The Cabrera-Willis Trade
What’s being said about the trade of trades…
Baseball Prospectus | Unfiltered
Four is the number of relatively cheap arbitration-eligible seasons that the Tigers are picking up between Cabrera and Willis. Half of the league is willing to bend over backward — perhaps giving up a package analogous to what the Tigers just gave up — for one season of Johan Santana. Although Willis is not the pitcher than Santana is by a long shot, he’s an excellent buy-low guy who was mostly victimized by some poor defense and some poor luck in Miami last year, and an extremely viable #2/#3 starter. And Cabrera might well be the equal of Santana in terms of 2008 value. In terms of overall value, the Tigers are getting perhaps three times as much incoming value as the Red Sox might get for one year of Santana.
It’s an incredible trade and it puts them in position to win the Central and possibly win the World Series with the talent in Detroit. It reminds me of a conversation that Mario Impemba and I had with Dave Dombrowski before last season and he said that you need to have top 5 talent at each position to compete for a championship and the Tigers have that now.
As difficult as it is to see Miller and Maybin go, it is not too often you get a chance to acquire an elite hitter like Cabrera. Badenhop DeLaCruz and Trahern are also decent prospects but in a trade of this magnitude they are almost throw ins. The Tigers signaled in their earlier trade of top prospects Gorkys Hernadez and Jair Jurrjens for Edgar Renteria that they were going for it all in 2008 and this deal confirms it emphatically
In conclusion, this is a hard deal to digest because none of the guys that the Tigers gave up had even a full year with the big league club outside of Rabello as the team’s backup catcher. Still, I like the way this sets up the Tigers for the next couple of years at least. This should vault them over the Indians as the favorites in the Central next year and they should be at least in the top five talent wise in all of baseball so you have to be happy about that.
After finishing second in the league in 2007 with 887 runs scored — in a pitchers’ park, no less — the Tigers have kicked Sean Casey to the curb and replaced him with Edgar Renteria, and now they are adding Miguel Cabrera’s bat to, in effect, replace Brandon Inge’s. It’s a 70-80 run swing, and if you’re going to give up half your farm system, that’s the kind of impact you want to get in return.
The Tigers? They’re now an official baseball superpower.
They’re headed for a $120 million-plus payroll. They have a lineup deeper than the Grand Canyon. And they can run five starting pitchers out there who have each worked 200-plus innings in at least one of the last two seasons.
My last reflection is to think of all the prospects the Tigers have traded away the past two seasons in an effort to get back to the World Series. Humberto Sanchez, Anthony Clagett, and Kevin Whalen for Gary Sheffield. Jair Jurrjens and Gorkys Hernandez for Edgar Reteria. Now Maybin, Miller, Rabelo, De La Cruz, Badenhop, and Trahern to Florida. That’s 11 prospects, many top of the line. And yet, the Tigers still have plenty of talent. Pitcher Rick Porcello is compared to Josh Beckett, and with position players, the Tigers have a number of interesting prospects (Danny Worth and Scott Sizemore among them). Just shows you what an amazing job of amassing talent Dave Dombrowski has done.
You just got to make that deal. You just have to. Dave Dombrowski would have been negligent otherwise.
I don’t know how you can not like this trade. The Tigers had already totally committed to a “Win now” philosophy with the Renteria trade. They may have a 2 year window to make a serious run at winning the World Series. There is no “Tomorrow.” With the Tigers, there is only today. And today, they elevated themselves to the level of New York and Boston, if not higher.
More to come…