(I say “generally” only because he just broke out of a 0-22 slump.)
Miguel Cabrera went to the Tigers in a much ballyhooed trade back in late 2007. Dontrelle Willis went with him to Detroit and Miami (Florida at the time), supposedly receiving the “king’s ransom” or “everything but the kitchen sink”. Honestly whatever term lights your fire.
The Marlins got another chunk of players intended to add to their growing nucleus of youth.
Dave Dombrowski shipped starting pitchers Andrew Miller, Dallas Trahern and Eulogio De La Cruz, outfielder Cameron Maybin, catcher Mike Rabelo and reliever Burke Badenhop to his former employers. The return was Cabrera and some curious starts out of Willis.
When the trade first happened the Marlins came away with a potential frontline starter (Miller), a super athletic outfielder (Maybin), a useful relief arm/rotation/swing-man type (Badenhop), a solid catching option (Rabelo) and two more potential rotation arms (De La Cruz and Trahern). The seventh asset the Marlins got, or rather got out of, was Willis’ contract, which to put it plainly, was a mess.
The Marlins have almost fully moved on from this trade. Miller didn’t work out as a starter or reliever and was unceremoniously shipped to Boston for reliever Dustin Richardson. Richardson has since been designated for assignment and isn’t with the team.
Maybin enjoyed some success in the sunshine state before being moved to San Diego for bullpen arms Ryan Webb and Edward Mujica. Webb and Mujica, it should be noted, are currently integral parts of the Fish’s new-look pen and serve as former Padres teammate Heath Bell’s setup men.
Badenhop also enjoyed success in Florida/Miami as he provided a key part to their bullpen. He only allowed six homers in over 120 innings of work for the Fish in 2010 and 2011. But as with Miller and Maybin, Badenhop’s time was at its end with the team as he was shipped in state to the Rays for minor leaguer Jake Jeffries.
Rabelo, incidentally, is back with the Tigers in a coaching position as the hitting coach for the Gulf Coast League Tigers. Before that the Marlins let him walk via free agency.
De La Cruz was moved to the Padres, for a PTBNL or cash. After that he spent 2010 in Japan before having a brief stint in Milwaukee last season.
Trahern, last but not least, put up an ERA of almost 8 for Miami’s AAA affiliate New Orleans in 2011. He is currently a free agent.
Willis’s contract meanwhile was a huge plus to get rid of. Maybe not at Cabrera’s expense, but the Tigers shelled out a little under 30 (that’s right, thirty) million dollars to have him on payroll for three years. There were witnesses to Willis sightings in a Diamondbacks and Reds uniform, respectively, in the last two years, so he’s still kicking around.
Cabrera meanwhile has gone on a rabid hitting spree in Detroit, consistently hitting 30 homers, driving in 100 runs and having a batting average hover at or above .300 while creating a reputation as possibly the best hitter in the game.
The perception out there is that the Tigers won this trade hands down…which they did, to a degree. Florida hasn’t been completely horrible after losing one of the better players in the league. And as it stands, the current Marlins would have a hard time fitting him into the lineup without stepping on other people’s feet to get him there. Gaby Sanchez and Hanley Ramirez currently man Cabrera’s former and current positions. And it isn’t as if the Marlins are short on power without the long departed Cabrera. Giancarlo Stanton and Sanchez provide Miami with quite the middle of the order.
Not to mention the fact that they probably would have had issues building the current team over the last couple years with Willis’ salary weighing them down.
The Miguel Cabrera trade, not as lopsided as you think.