Wednesday, December 05, 2007
In exchange for their prospects, the Tigers are adding a Cy Young-caliber pitcher in Willis, who struggled in 2007 with a 10-15 record and 5.17 ERA, but whom pitched dominating baseball the last several seasons (e.g., 22-10, 2.63 ERA in 2005), and a potential MVP candidate in Cabrera, who clubbed 33 home runs and 119 RBIs in 2007. Cabrera’s 119 RBI, by the way, is pretty much what he’s done for four consecutive seasons:
Willis helps upgrade a pitching staff that was average in 2007, while Cabrera adds his bat to a lineup that scored 887 runs last season. The new, revamped Tigers could top 1,000 runs.
The conventional wisdom about the Marlins – Tigers deal – the Tigers mortgaged their future to win now – is largely incomplete. The Tigers will have Willis and Cabrera under contract for 2008 and 2009 before they become free agents. This isn’t a simple one-shot, win-now type deal: the Tigers have positioned themselves to dominate their division for two years at least and more if they can manage to re-sign one or both players. This is a deal to help them win and give them a chance to establish a long-term dynasty in Detroit. In exchange they surrendered some prospects who may never develop into successful major league players.
Perhaps Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller, the two top prospects in the deal, will become terrific players. Maybin, in particular, is a highly regarded prospect. However, the Tigers know what they are getting with Willis and Cabrera: two young players who can contribute now. The Marlins are losing two superstars and are getting a big pile of uncertainty. Buy season tickets Marlins fans! See future Tigers and Yankees superstars today!
Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein has some nice analysis indicating that the Marlins might have gotten fleeced in the deal because Maybin and Miller aren't can't-miss prospects after all.
From my perspective the deal is a spectacular victory for the Phillies: say goodbye to the Marlins as a contender for the next two or three years. Cabrera and Willis won't be going to an N.L. team now either.
Tomorrow or Friday I'll have some analysis on the Red Sox - Twins deal for Santana when it goes down.