After reading an article earlier today on another site, it got me thinking about how Cabrera changed the Tigers franchise and could trading for Juan Soto have the same intended effect. The first thing I wanted to compare were their statistics, age, health and strengths. If Detroit traded for Soto this offseason, he would be playing next season at age 25 which was the same as Cabrera. Cabrera was a fixture in Florida’s lineup and rarely missed a start during his four years. Soto on the other hand did miss significant time during the 2020 season but otherwise has been healthy so I don’t necessarily view this as a negative.
When I started comparing statistics, this is where I gained more respect for the type of player Detroit traded for during the 07-08 offseason. Cabrera averaged 158 games played, 190 hits, 32 homeruns, 115 RBI’s, and had an average of .319 through his four seasons in Florida and to think he was only getting started.
Next, I started to look at Soto’s statistics and this is where I see the difference in players entering their age 25 season. Soto doesn’t have the counting stats like Cabrera but baw gawd, Soto is an on base machine. He has an average OBP of .420 through his young career and averages over 120 walks a year. The statistics show two very different types of hitters, but could they have the same effect on Detroit.
The main thing that stood out to me is that Soto controls the strike zone which is a Harris mantra and mandate. Soto is young enough that he would be hitting his prime when Detroit’s young hitters are coming to the big leagues and getting their feet wet. The baseball pundits already have Soto in the hall of fame but what type of career will he have.
Joey Votto seems like a very reasonable comparison for Soto. On base machines and sometimes viewed as too selective and happy to take the walk. Now I’m not saying walks are bad, because they aren’t but you also have to have someone to drive you in, which is something that Detroit is lacking at the present time. In a couple of years this could be a non-issue with the plethora of hitters Detroit has in the minors awaiting their call-up to the bigs.
Overall, I think Soto would be an excellent addition to this team. He is the type of player these young guys need to emulate, the type of player Harris loves, and he would be someone Detroit could build around. I’ll leave the trade possibilities to you guys, but I know nobody on this team is untouchable.