This is shaping up to be quite an offseason for trades. First, the Twins and Rays make a deal including, among others, Delmon Young, Jason Bartlett, and Matt Garza. Johan Santana is probably going to be traded soon. And now this blockbuster:
Cabrera is one of the top five hitters in baseball, regardless of position, and he's only 24. Sure, he's a free agent in two seasons, but the Tigers aren't going to be outbid by many teams if he does test the market. And besides, Detroit as presently constituted isn't a team that's going to be good three or four years down the road. Most of the team's starting position players are over the age of thirty, and the manager's not going to be around for the long haul.
The Tigers essentially stripmined the farm to get Cabrera and Willis. Cameron Maybin is just about major-league ready at the age of 21. Andrew Miller could probably step into the rotation this spring. Maybin and Miller are very valuable commodities because they are young, talented, and controllable for the next six seasons. The Marlins may have the most miserly ownership in sports, but their player development decisions have been impeccable given the tough moves they've had to make. They weren't going to keep Cabrera, so they made as good a haul as I think possible. I would imagine this deal is another huge blow to the Marlins' public perception, but by now it's blows of diminishing returns given that there aren't that many Marlin fans left to tick off.
Dontrelle Willis is overrated by conventional wisdom, but he's thrown over 195 innings the past four seasons, and given how many runs the Tigers are going to score, should be an excellent 4th starter. I believe he's two years from free agency as well.
The Tigers are going to be a scary team this season.