Sunday, May 18, 2008
How's that trade working out for Detroit?
Last December the sports world went abuzz when Detroit traded away their top prospects to Florida for Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis. The conventional wisdom at the time, as I remember it, was that this trade was exactly what Detroit needed to return to the World Series. And as for the Marlins? Well, many experts seemingly couldn't help but feel sorry for that small market team's fans.
My first reaction to the deal was one of surprise. Yes, it was an aggressive move by the Tigers, but the more I looked at it, the less I liked it. Adding Miguel Cabrera seemed fine to me, but adding Dontrelle Willis didn't. Then when I began to consider what the Tigers would have to pay Cabrera as well as the number of quality prospects they gave up, the trade started looking more and more desperate. Whereas on Florida's side, I felt they had done well to ship out Willis's and Cabrera's contracts while at the same time getting some top prospects in return; they had "diversified their funds" so to speak, and that made sense to me.
What I didn't expect was for Detroit to start out this season with the worst record in the AL through May 18. Nor did I expect the Marlins to be leading the NL East (many picked the Mets, Phillies, or Braves). These teams have both been surprises this year, although I think Detroit's troubles are mainly found in a non-existent bullpen (injuries) along with mediocre starting pitching. With regard to the Marlins, well, their young talent is finally taking it to the next level which is always among hardest things to predict in baseball.
I still believe one should usually wait at least three years before really judging a baseball trade, and this one is no different. However, that won't stop me from speculating; and as far as I'm concerned, the Marlins got the better end of the deal. Not only is their team playing better than the Tigers this season, their talent is younger and they have a better farm system going.
Although, while it's surprising to see the Marlins atop the NL East, what's more shocking is that they might not even be the best team in the Sunshine State...