The Cabrera- Willis Trade – early returns

Table of contents for The Cabrera-Willis Trade

  1. Holy Freakin Crap
  2. The Cabrera- Willis Trade – early returns
  3. The 6 runs per game lineup
  4. The New Tigers speak
  5. Where should Cabrera play?
  6. The Coda

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.

Rod Allen-

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.

Detroit Tiger Tales

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.

Keith Law

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.

Jayson Stark

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.

Scott Warheit

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.

Big Al

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…

27 thoughts on “The Cabrera- Willis Trade – early returns”

  1. 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.

    I like the sound of that.

  2. The coup of this trade (beyond getting two all-stars) is that they’re getting two all-stars 25 and under.

    I can’t think of the last time a deal like this went down and the team “selling the farm” got two players of this caliber that are this young.

    They’ve cleaned the farm system out of close to MLB ready prospects, but who cares? They have one year left with Pudge, Magglio probably isn’t going to continue putting up career years, and Sheffield is likely on the downside. Toss in potential starters like Renteria (32 years old), Rogers (old), Jones (old and shaky), and they need to win NOW.

    Certainly they have some building blocks – young pitching in Verlander & Bonderman, and Granderson in CF. But if these guys put up #’s and they decide to sign them long term…they’ve pretty much added two more building blocks. And by the time the run with the older guys is over, the youngsters may be ready.

    I was a huge Maybin follower, but this is one of the few deals I wouldn’t question involving him in.

  3. Yeah, they cleaned out the farm system, but they essentially just promoted their best prospects to the majors. Who knows, maybe Maybin will be better than Cabrera (not likely) and Miller will be better than Willis (more likely), but for right now, Cabrera and Willis are better, and that makes the Tigers better in 2008.

    DD has said all along that he doesn’t want to trade Maybin or Miller and damage the long-term health of the franchise. Well, he traded them, and did NOT damage the long-term health of the franchise becuase the guys he got back are 25 years old. The key lies in signing Cabrera to an extension (Buster Olney suggested a $200 million contract), which will certainly push the payroll into big-boy territory. The downside is we are almost certainly headed for higher ticket prices (which doesn’t bother me, I just check them out at US Cellular when they are in town).

  4. Well, we’ve come a long way since 2003.

    Cabrera is a potential HOF bat. He’s a terrible 3B and here’s one vote for getting him slimmed down and putting him in LF. Let Inge try to bounce back and shop Thames around. Willis will be a lot better if he just has a good IF defense. Leave Inge at 3B and he will.

    If you are unwilling to move blue chippers you become the Angels. Good but apparently paralyzed when it comes to moving a kid to add to a position of need. Dombrowski has got ball$, and win, lose or draw this is the kind of trade that gets the fans excited, the baseball world talking, etc.

    I hate to lose Miller and especially Maybin. But face it, they are unproven and we just don’t know if they are going to be good or great. Certainly there are question marks with both. Even after gutting the system they still have a little pitching depth left: Bazardo, Vasquez, Tata, Larrison, Rapada and of course Porcello. And they didn’t trade Skelton, Larish, Sizemore, Hollimon, etc.

    It’s a lot to give up and it could certainly turn out either well or poorly. But it sure is fun!

  5. I don’t know if anybody has mentioned this yet or not, but another plus of this trade is that it was with an NL team. Therefore if Miller and Maybin play as all-stars for the Marlins next year, it doesn’t hurt as much if they were playing in the AL.

  6. While this is a win NOW move, it certainly doesn’t hurt our prospects over the next few years either. The only starters we lost after this season are Pudge and the Gambler, which was the case anyway.
    Everyone else, on paper, has at least 2-3 more years in ’em.

  7. My guess is that Inge is going to stay in Detroit and at 3rd base. His defense is much better than Cabrera’s and that is important for building the pitching success. Cabrera can play left field.

  8. So I know this was touched on a couple threads ago, but seeing how events have changed…

    Anyone have any idea what a 27-game plan costs? All the info is off the Tigers site now and I can’t dig it up anywhere. I live in Dayton so it’s a hike but just moved down here and it sure as hell is tempting to get a couple seats, sooooo if anyone happens to have some good info on the mini-plans I’d appreciate it!

  9. Alternative to trading Inge: Keep him as a Utility player. Pudge is passing his prime. He played 129 games last year. I could see that number shrinking even more. With Rabelo gone there is need for a catcher and I’m sure everyone can remember Inge catching during the Tiger’s “glory days”. He could get 51 games that Rabelo got last year plus some. Also, he could be kept as a defensive specialist for Cabrera. Anothing way he could be used is as a sub at short. I’m not totally banking on Renteria playing 149 games like he did in ’06 . With Inge being the athlete he is I have little doubt he could play short. Another way he could be used is against lefties. I didn’t realize this until I was trying to think of reasons to keep Inge, but he hit .333 against Lefties. Pretty impressive, it really is when you consider Granderson hit .160 against them.

  10. Inge wont be playing 3B next year on our team. Some people think he will be on the trading block. That much is probably true. The thing is we will only trade Inge if we get someone we can use in return(weather future or now) I think Inge will be our super utility guy for 2008. Now IMHO I believe we should swing Inge back to being the catcher for our organization after Pudge leaves. That being if we don’t try to offer him a new contract. Inge should be that guy. His defensive skills are grade A++ and will be a great catcher along with having a more respectable catcher type batting numbers. Inge should and better stay unless we get a reliever or other prospect we can not say no too.

  11. Can I just say right now, I cannot WAIT for Opening Day?!! I can’t remember being this excited for baseball since, well, last winter. 🙂 The only downside I can see to this deal is losing out on watching Miller and Maybin play. They’ve been so highly touted for so long, I was really looking forward to watching them play for Detroit. However, I’ll gladly trade that for what we have now–a chance to win big. Really, really big. I can’t wait!

  12. Steve in OH – I have the small season plan; the discount for buying a package depends on where you sit. I sit in sec 338 (near some very nice people from the Toledo area as a matter of fact!) and for the past two years the seat which retails for $20 ends up being $14 on the plan. I think this year it goes up $2 per seat per game. In 2006 we got some free weekday game passes and weekday food coupons, last year just food coupons. I like the view from up there, it is a good seat and very reasonable IMO.

  13. ^ Thanks for the info – I really appreciate it!

    Any idea if there’s a plan comprised of mostly weekend games?

  14. Yes they designate the plans as Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or weekday. That means the majority of the games are on those days. I have the Friday night plan but because of the freakish schedule last year there were fewer Friday night games than in 2006 so I had games all over the place. Some weekday day games, but I work downtown and was able to cut out and use the tickets!! They usually post the breakdown by late December/early Jan so you can see how the 27 games fall.

  15. Good stuff… I’m in Dayton, OH now so the former 45 minute drive is now closer to 3 hours, 45 minutes… so unless I burn through vacation days I’m gonna have to aim for a weekend plan. Thanks again!

  16. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think we should keep Inge around. With three lefties in the rotation and a SS with questionable range, we can afford to carry Inge’s weak stick in the lineup. He is an above average defender with excellent range. Move Miggy to LF and let him play there for the next dozen years.

    Basically, DD has to decide who is out of a job here, Inge or Jones. I hope he doesn’t decide on Inge because of $$$$.

    Like many of you, I hate to lose prospects like Maybin and Miller. But this was too good to pass up and these are young guys we can build around for 10 years Dombrowski MUST sign Miggy long term… I’d say wait and see on Dontrelle. I want to see if he can bounce back from two really poor seasons. If he continues downward, better to let him walk after 09.

    I’m very excited about all of this, too. But lets not hand the Tigers the World Series just yet. Cleveland is still going to be excellent and Boston will be tough, especially if they get Santana. The Yankees fortunes rest upon their young arms. If those guys come through, they’ll be right there, too. Their offense will rival the Tigers.

  17. ***My guess is that Inge is going to stay in Detroit and at 3rd base. His defense is much better than Cabrera’s and that is important for building the pitching success. Cabrera can play left field***

    An average — or arguably below average — defensive player can make a hell of a lot of gaffes in a spacious Comerica park LF as well. And usually those kind of errors result in an extra base or two, instead of a free base due to an error at third. I don’t like the idea of putting Cabera in LF. Defensively, Renteria will be an upgrade at short while Cabera will be a downgrade at third, but my feeling is the Tiger’s 2008 infield corps will not suffer too much overall relative their 2007 counterparts.

    Inge will not play 3rd base next year for the Tigers. If he stays, I see them using him as an all-around utility player or backup catcher depending on Wilson. Personally, I’m hoping DD shops him for some quality pitching depth, throwing in whoever else it may take to land somebody exciting. I understand Inge is an extremely polarizing figure for Tiger fans, so I’m not surprised to see the subtle “lobbying” begin for him to stay at third. But I don’t see it happening — nor do I feel it would be a good move to do so.

  18. wow….unbelievable deal. I am a bit concerned about pitching going forward though–especially the bullpen–still a big ?. But still, we gave up prospects for one of the top 2-3 hitters in the game and a SP who hopefully can rebound–he’s only 25. If Willis turns it around, this trade could be legendary.

    I was out last night and didn’t see the news until around noon today. One of my wholesalers–a huge Indians fan, came into my office with a look on his face like he’d just seen a ghost. He said, “Jesus, were you guys THAT pissed that we won the Central last year?”

    What was the outlook on Trahern? I recall reading pretty good reports about him. Now that Jurrjens and Miller are both gone, who else beside Porcello has the best potential? I know that we have traded away our best 3-4 prospects, correct?

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