Blockbuster! Tigers get Cabrera and Willis from the Marlins while teams fight over Santana

Breaking news out of Nashville confirms earlier rumors that Detroit was talking with Florida about BOTH Cabrera and Willis. Well, it appears they weren’t just talking but actually doing unlike some other teams that remain in holding patterns as they wait for the Twins to make a decision (I believe that decision will soon be to take Santana off the market for the time being which should be until the season is well under way).

The Tigers are sending six players to the Marlins for the 24 year old third baseman Cabrera who still has two years left on his deal and the 23 year old Willis who has one year left and is coming off a sub-par year for the former All-Star. Right at the top of those six players are OF Cameron Maybin — a top five prospect in MLB according to Minor League Baseball — and 2006 first round pick Andrew Miller. The other four players include catcher Mike Rabelo and three other minor league pitchers.

Personally I don’t like this deal for the Tigers. Sure they get two bonafide studs in Cabrera and Willis (I believe Willis will turn things around and he’s very young, they both are) but you give up a guy in Maybin, who in my opinion is a year or two away from being a beast in this league and Andrew Miller who in my opinion is better right now and has a higher ceiling than Willis down the line. I’ve seen Miller in person, the guy is long and throws very hard. His fastball comes from behind lefthanders all the way to outside part of the plate in almost a diagonal line because of his release point. He also has a nasty curve and changeup. I’m not sure right now who the other three minor league pitchers are but it appears that once again the Marlins have stolen some talented young players and saved themselves tremendous amounts of money.

UPDATE (7 p.m. Pacific): the three minor league pitchers are being reported by Peter Gammons to be the following: Eulogio De La Cruz (3.62 ERA in minors with a blazing fastball), Dallas Trahern (13-6 between Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo), and Burke Badenhop (12-6 between Lakeland and Erie). So it sounds like the Marlins got three really good young arms as well.

Stay tuned for some more analysis and updates of the winter meetings…

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