First, if you haven't yet, please check out Brian's diary in the right sidebar. He's posted 10 thoughts about the Cabrera/Willis trade that are worth a look.
The first question I had yesterday (well, after "Holy $#!+!! Miguel Cabrera?!?") after hearing rumors about the deal was what made the Tigers change their mind about Cameron Maybin? At what point did he go from "untouchable" to "Okay, we could trade him"? Was it the possibility of getting a hitter like Miguel Cabrera in return?
How big a role did Curtis Granderson's development play in this? After the 2007 he put together, Granderson planted a flag in center field, making the position his for years to come. As high as the Tigers' hopes for Granderson may have been, they likely didn't expect him to become such a multi-category threat so soon into his career. Maybin wasn't going to supplant Detroit's new burgeoning superstar, and left fielders are easier to find than center fielders, so the jewel of the Tigers' minor league system became - dare we say it - expendable.
The Detroit News' Tom Gage confirms this line of thinking in his article today:
While Mr. Big Ten Hardball and I were giddily discussing the trade over the phone last night, one of the first things he asked was if this is the biggest trade the Detroit Tigers have ever made. (Maybe it's the biggest deal any Detroit sports team has ever made.) Well, that Juan Gonzalez deal was pretty big too, but considering Miguel Cabrera's age and swoon-inducing upside, he gives the Tigers a much bigger return. That's my opinion, anyway. Admittedly, my Tigers memory only goes back into the early '80s.
Tom Gage has this deal ranked fourth among the attention-grabbing trades the Detroit baseball franchise has made.
Speaking of giddy, I loved seeing Big Al jump up and down, spin in the air, land on his bed, and spring back up again when sharing his joy for the deal at The Wayne Fontes Experience.
When you have the opportunity to trade for a 24 year old superstar, who can put up .320-30-125 in his sleep, and will only get better, along with a legit #2 or 3 starting pitcher, only 2 years removed from a 22 win season, and is only 25, in return for prospects? Blue chip prospects, but prospects all the same?
You just got to make that deal. You just have to.
I imagine Big Al lying on his stomach with his legs kicking behind him, snapping his gum, and twirling his hair around a pink highlighter as he reads this morning's newspapers.
Billfer has already begun to feed numbers and projections into The Detroit Tigers Weblog's super-computer, and the reams of data that came out on the other side say the 2008 lineup should be good for six runs a game.
Even if Dontrelle Willis isn't the pitcher he once was, and gives up four runs a game, will it matter if he receives six runs of support?
The Daily Fungo's Doug Hill wonders how often Jim Leyland will employ Willis as a pinch-hitter. He posted a .508 slugging average last season. (That could make Interleague Play fun.)
Cameron Maybin's hometown newspaper, the Asheville Citizen-Times is sad to see their star go to a team that lost 91 games this year, but hopeful that he can win the Marlins' starting centerfield job next season.
Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald laments the last two pieces of the Florida Marlins' 2003 World Series championship team moving on to another city, while his columnist colleague, Dan LeBatard, thinks the front office's track record in such deals entitles it to some benefit of the doubt.
SB Nation broham FishStripes wasn't happy about the trade, and it had screaming at his XM Radio.
D-Town Baseball takes a closer look at the "other," lesser known players the Tigers sent to Florida yesterday.
TigerBlog wonders if this trade could eventually lead to a Tigers-Marlins World Series match-up in 2012.
Just between us Tigers fans, does all the Johan Santana trade talk now sound like so much "blah blah blah" now? Kind of like Charlie Brown's teacher droning away in the background?