Looking back on the Detroit Tigers trade to acquire Miguel Cabrera.
The Detroit Tigers altered the path of their franchise big-time in 2007. The team made a trade that severely shifted how things would unfold for years to come with a trade that landed them Miguel Cabrera, future Hall of Famer.
Years later, it's crazy to look back on that trade, but its baseball, it's sports, some of these trades end up working out for both sides, and some end up looking really one-sided in the grand scheme of things when it's all said and done, and the Detroit Tigers indeed won this one, by an absolute landslide.
It's 2023; it's been 16 years since the Tigers landed Cabrera in their trade with the then-Florida Marlins. Let's talk through the deal. Here's how things shook out as part of the eight-player deal that ended up altering the Tigers' trajectory, big time.
The Tigers may have parted ways with many players, but I'd say it worked out in the long run. Jokes aside, Andrew Miller had a more than respectable career in the major leagues and was a piece of several postseason bullpens that made deep runs, carving out his role as the lefty specialist.
Cameron Maybin also had himself a tremendous big-league career. Heck, he even ended up back in Detroit and, post-playing career, has found himself in the Tigers broadcast booth as well. Maybin played 15 seasons in the bigs and had himself a more than respectable career in the big leagues, and heck, it looks like he could still suit up today.
Maybin and Miller were both regarded as top prospects at the time, but neither of them would live up to Cabrera's career in the long run, even combined. All of the players the Marlins acquired were not able to live up to the type of performance that Cabrera was able to produce over his Hall of Fame career.
For those who like to put a ton of stock in WAR to analyze trades, Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis have combined for an 86.9 career WAR rating, with time for Cabrera to add to that over his last few games. On the flip side of that, the six players the Marlins acquired combined for a 23.8 WAR rating over their MLB careers.
In terms of comparing the two, Cabrera and Willis's combined WAR was 63.1 higher. Even taking Willis out of the equation, Cabrera's 67.2 career WAR is 43.4 higher than the numbers the Marlins players put up throughout their entire careers, not just their time with the Marlins.
It's obvious the Tigers came away victorious, but it sure is crazy to look at the numbers and think about how things could have been different for the Tigers organization over the last 10-15 years. Cabrera stepped into the Tigers organization and into the city of Detroit and ignited something over time.
The guy won a Triple Crown and changed the trajectory of baseball in Detroit over the years. He's had an absolutely historic career, but things could have been a lot different without that trade back in 2007.
In a crazy turn of events, former Tigers General Manager (GM) Dave Dombrowski was able to pull things off with the permission of Mike Ilitch to do whatever needed to be done. The Tigers ultimately got the guy they wanted in Cabrera and extended him to an eight-year contract, and the rest is history.
Cody Stavenhagen penned a great piece about this deal on The Athletic($), with a lot of the inside information from the trade negotiations. But, it is crazy to think about how much of an effect these trade negotiations and eventual deal had on the Tigers. It was noted in Stavenhagen's piece that there was a thought that the deal was not going to get done, assuming another team would not get Cabrera.
But, in the end, Dombrowski and the Tigers were able to pull it off. The Detroit Tigers changed things forever with that trade, and 16 years later, we're nearing the end of the road for Miggy and his historic MLB career.