Based solely upon Cabrera’s laundry list of awards there is overwhelming evidence that the Tigers won this trade. But how did things turn out on the Marlins side? How many prospects went on to produce at the major league level?
The short answer is: some did, some didn’t.
A backup catcher, Rabelo appeared in only 52 games over two seasons for the Tigers before the trade, registering a .254 batting average over that span. He wasn’t great defensively, making five errors in limited playing time.
He wasn’t much better with the Marlins, appearing sporadically for the club in 2008. He played in 32 games, registered a .202 average and struck out 25 times in 109 at-bats. He failed to gain a role with the team after that and never appeared in the majors again.
Rabelo went on to manage the Tigers’ Short-Season A affiliate, the Connecticut Tigers, in 2014, and the Low-A West Michigan Whitecaps in 2016.
Eulogio de la Cruz
A relief pitching prospect, de la Cruz registered a 6.75 ERA (5.49 FIP) in 6 2⁄3 innings over six appearances in 2007. He went on to appear in six games for the Marlins in 2008, including one start, working nine total innings while posting an ERA of 18.00, surrendering 20 runs on 15 hits while walking eleven batters. He went on to appear for the San Diego Padres and Milwaukee Brewers, as well as playing in Japan in 2010
Now known as Frankie de la Cruz, he currently plays for the Mexican league team Saraperos de Saltillo.
Trahern, a right-handed pitcher, failed to find his footing in the minors and never made a major league appearance. He had Tommy John surgery in 2009. He returned in 2011 and made 31 starts at the Double-A and Triple-A levels, but he didn’t appear again after that season.
One of the more effective pieces of this trade, Badenhop appeared in 151 games for the Marlins over four seasons, posting a 4.34 ERA while striking out 190 batters over 250 2⁄3 innings. He also pitched for the Tampa Bay Rays, Milwaukee Brewers, Boston Red Sox, and Cincinnati Reds. His best season came in Boston, where he recorded a 2.29 ERA in 70 appearances as a role reliever.
Badenhop has been out of baseball as a player since the 2016 season. Since, he has contributed for MLB Trade Rumors and currently serves as baseball operations analyst in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization.
While he never quite caught on with the Marlins, Maybin has panned out quite well compared to most others on this list.
His .255 career average isn’t much to write home about, but he has managed to earn playing time with every team he’s played for since the Marlins, including starting in the outfield for the San Diego Padres, Atlanta Braves, and eventually making his homecoming to the Tigers in 2016. However, he’s often been injured, playing more than 140 games only twice in his career.
Traded to the Los Angeles Angels immediately following the 2016 World Series, Maybin started out hot, including some power, before cooling down. He was eventually dealt to the Houston Astros, where he was ineffective but proved to be a weapon on the basepaths as they won the 2017 World Series.
Out of all of these, this one has to hurt the most. Not just because of his numbers, but because the Tigers have to deal with his current club, the Cleveland Indians, 19 times a year.
While he wasn’t great with the Marlins (5.89 ERA in 58 games, including 41 starts), he found his way to Boston, where the Red Sox turned him from a starter into a reliever. He’s been one of the best relievers in baseball ever since.
A look at the stat sheet will give an idea of Miller’s dominance. He’s posted a sub-1.00 WHIP in each of the last four seasons, as well as an ERA below 2.04 in each of those seasons. Since 2012 in relief he’s posted a strikeouts per nine innings rate of over 11.4 every year. His slider, combined with his wiry 6’5” frame, is among the nastiest in the game, accounting for many of his strikeouts and making right-handed batters look completely lost as they stand in against him.
He has revolutionized the way managers use relief pitchers, with no defined role in the Indians’ bullpen. He is simply called upon by manager Terry Francona when a big stop is needed, appearing in as many innings as the situation requires.
Put simply: He’s the one that got away in this deal. And he got away again after a close call at the 2014 trade deadline, which only adds salt to the wound.
With this trade in the rearview mirror and a similar trade likely approaching for Giancarlo Stanton, the Marlins will be hoping to avoid repeating history and come out on the right side of a blockbuster deal.