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...


clauff said...

How crazy is it to think that there are two hot teams in Florida right now? And, a year or so ago they were talking about moving at least the Marlins and maybe the Rays because of very poor attendance.

Looks like the whole spend more than the other guy and win strategy only works for certain teams. If only the Cubs could take a cue from the Marlins and not pay players like Soriano $250 million, especially when you consider what a steal the Marlins got Hanley Ramirez for (and he's better than Soriano is now).

I too, agree with you Greg, about Dontrelle Willis. I think he has some kind of hype halo around him that makes him seem better than he really is. He had one good year really, and the rest of them have been really mediocre to bad.

Maybe this trade will be the start of the NL renaissance. God knows there needs to be better balance between the two leagues.

Greg McConnell said...

That's an interesting point... I hadn't thought of this trade as helping shift the balance of power back toward the NL. Although, I'm all for that though since I tend to favor the NL. Growing up a Reds fan had me rooting for the NL in the first All-Star games I watched. Plus I don't like the AL's DH rule.

Greg McConnell said...

By the way, I'd like to welcome all Detroit Tiger fans who are reading this post. Apparently I'm being ripped on one of their forums:

Pauly said...

Nice to be ripped in other places, huh. You must have really struck a chord with nervous Tiger fans.

I am the biggest Miguel Cabrera fan on the planet, but that doesnt change the fact that Detroit got by far an away the very best player in this deal in Cabrera. And he will be better than anyone else in this deal for years and years to come. Dont be fooled by Miggy's slow start.

As for Willis, I love the guy, but the league has figured him out.

As for who the Marlins got: Andrew Miller might be good in a few years, but he will never, ever come close to impacting the majors like Cabrera. Cam Maybin will end up being a good player soon, but I find it hard to fathom that he will ever be approaching the class of player that Cabrera is.

The Marlins just gave Hanley an 8-year extension and a big payday. How good would the Marlins be if they took the hit and actually re-signed Cabrera? (yeah yeah, I know it was impossible).

Chairman said...

Nice. Any press is good press.

The Marlins have a new stadium coming soon, don't they? That may change things around for that franchise, from a long-term perspective.

Greg McConnell said...

Yeah, Miggy Cabrera is very likely the only potential HOF'er of the whole group. He's only 24, and he should be a big plus for the Tigers offense for the next decade (barring injury).

Regarding the Marlins new stadium, yeah, one is in the works. I've heard some interesting things about it--most recently on the radio. They might experiment with letting corporations have equity seating rights. As such, these seats could become among the most luxurious in baseball... personal temperature control, instant replay screens, email, etc. The best part for the team will be the extra $$$ they'll get. It sounds like a win-win for the team and the fans.

Here's an article on the topic which mentions the Marlins among others: