Chicago White Sox v Detroit Tigers

The Miami Marlins are not going to trade Giancarlo Stanton this winter. The Miami Marlins are going to build their franchise around Giancarlo Stanton.

This is the official party line of the Miami Marlins. Which is to say, it should be taken with grains of salt and no small amount of flippant disdain. The Marlins are not to be trusted. Not now and not ever.

This Stanton situation is very reminiscent of the Miguel Cabrera Marlins situation after the 2007 season. Miguel Cabrera won a very significant arbitration reward on his first trip though the process, setting himself up for very significant paydays down the road.

The grown cost of being in the Miggy business mixed with growing questions about his makeup prompted the Marlins to shop Cabrera, eventually settling on a blockbuster package with the Detroit Tigers.

But the Tigers weren’t the only team bidding on the services of the eventual AL MVP. Many other teams threw their hats into the ring. We can look back today to remind ourselves of the volatile nature of prospects. Hopefully your favorite teams heeds this is a warning.

The package eventually agreed upon by the Tigers and Marlins was massive. It looks bad given the passage of time, considering the high washout rate of those involved. Let’s recap:

To MIAMI (Florida) To DETROIT

Yes, that trade looks very VERY lopsided now. It is easy to forget both Maybin and Miller were top 15 prospects in all of baseball when this trade went down, the equivalent of the Pirates trading Gregor Polanco and Jameson Taillon right now. Additionally, Dontrelle was still sort of something at this point, making 35 starts in what would eventually be his final full season in the league.

That looks like a big haul but now we know it was basically nothing. Cameron Maybin is a fine enough player (eventually traded for a reliever) but the Tigers more or less bought Miguel Cabrera from the Marlins. And it could have been worse.

With the glory of 20/20 hindsight, Yankees GM Brian Cashman probably wishes his reconsidered his stance at the time – that he it would be “hard pressed” to trade Ian Kennedy, Phil Hughes, or Joba Chamberlain in exchange for Miguel Cabrera. Seriously.

“I’m sure I’ll be challenged like I have been in the past on those guys,” Cashman said. “No one is untouchable, but some guys are less touchable than others, and those guys fall into that category. I will be tested a lot and this organization will be tested a lot on that.”

Which. Yikes. While the Yankees won the World Series in 2009 (after making a trade for Curtis Granderson using one of the aforementioned players), the parallel timeline in which Cabrera becomes a Yankee is a horrifying dystopia marred with heaping mounds of ticket tape coating the great city of New York like a heavy paste.

There is no Mark Teixeira in pinstripes if there is a Miguel Cabrera. Alex Rodriguez might be in a different uniform. The mind reels at the possibilities.

Not unlike the possibilities presented by nearly ever other Miguel Cabrera trade rumor floating around the 2007-era pages of MLB Trade Rumors.

Hey, Chase Headley is a very nice player and all but COME ON.

This isn’t really meant to embarrass the teams listed above as much as entertain and enlighten. Prospect hugging has its limit. Maybe nobody knew that Miguel Cabrera would continue to be improve and become premier slugger in baseball but, I mean, lots of people kind of knew.

The makeup issues surrounding Cabrera were very real and, as you recall, persisted after he joined the Tigers. Cabrera’s struggles with alcohol are well-documented and yet the Tigers cannot possibly regret, for even one second, that they ponied up and brought Miguel Cabrera to Detroit.

It’s a risky business. Not all trades work out as well as the Granderson/Scherzer/Kennedy/AJax deal did for all involved. Even Arizona, which lost out on a great pitcher in Max Scherzer, got good years from Ian Kennedy. Dealing in prospects means dealing in risk. Dealing in athletes is dealing in risk, too.

If all the non-Tigers teams could go back and pull the trigger (or up the ante) to get Miguel Cabrera, you have to think they would. Is Giancarlo Stanton worthy of a similar package? He isn’t nearly as durable as Miggy and plays a less strenuous/important defensive position.

That said: break the bank! Spare no expense. Do you really want to be the guy left clutching a few decent to okay players instead of taking a shot at one of the best? Even the Red Sox, who paid a huge price in Hanley Ramirez to acquire Mike Lowell and Josh Beckett, can look back with piece of mind that they made a good trade. The Yankees can also use their World Series banner to salve their wounds but the Angels and others? Less so.

Once again, we ponder risk versus reward. The Tigers might not have claimed a World Series title but they have been nicely rewarded for taking a risk with two top prospects six years ago.

Comments (4)

  1. The Marlins have a track record of deals working out for the team trading for their stars in blockbuster deals, there is one exception to that but for the life of me I can’t remember what it was……..

    • It’s only been a year. It’s been a lot longer since Cabrera was traded. Still needs more time to pan out.

  2. I give you heaping mounds of heavy paste.

  3. It is pretty amazing how so few prospects work out, even the highly hyped ones. There have been a couple of deals involving prospects that seriously look bad (see Bartolo Colon), but, by and large (solely from my memory), the team getting the established star has done far better. What do others think?

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