The Miami Marlins and Detroit Tigers jumped back into bed as MLB trade partners yesterday, with the last time producing quite the steal for Detroit. Back in 2007, the Tigers acquired Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis for a package of prospects that was highlighted by Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller.
While many felt that Detroit gave up too much – even for Cabrera – it was clearly the Marlins who came up on the short end of the stick in that deal.
Yesterday, although the Ichiro Suzuki trade to the New York Yankees may be receiving all of the headlines, the Marlins and Tigers made history with their trade, yet it has nothing to do with any of the current players involved. It still brings the question to mind, however, who fleeced who this time around?
The Tigers acquired starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez and second baseman Omar Infante from the Marlins for top pitching prospect Jacob Turner. Sanchez is as frustrating as they come on the mound, as he can look like a perennial Cy Young candidate one night, and a player who resembles that of a low class A ball pitcher in his next outing. Infante is an upgrade over what the Tigers have been forced to use at second, although he is still not the player the Marlins thought they were getting when they acquired him from the Atlanta Braves for Dan Uggla a couple of years back. And Sanchez is a free agent after this season, while Infante will be free to leave after the 2013 season.
Turner is another one of those – and forgive me for saying it because I deplore the term – “can’t miss” prospect. He has been extremely highly touted since he threw 99 miles per hour back in high school, and even the Tigers say that they gave up a lot in this deal.
Personally, if we are talking about right this minute, I do believe that this deal favors the Tigers. Today. Which is what they are clearly playing for after signing Prince Fielder to a massive contract. But over the next few years, will we be saying that the Marlins got their revenge five years later for being fleeced in the Cabrera trade? After all, Maybin is an average player – now with the San Diego Padres, and Andrew Miller has just recently turned things around pitching out of the bullpen – with the Boston Red Sox.
Time will tell. Turner could be the next great pitcher that the Tigers traded too early and got too little in return just to make a huge run over the next season or two. Remember when they dealt John Smoltz to the Braves for Doyle Alexander? They sure do.
Then again, if Turner only develops into a No. 3 or No. 4 starter, and if Detroit can at least make it back to the World Series, and perhaps even bring home their first championship since 1984, then this could be a monumental deal for the Tigers.
But it actually is a monumental record breaking deal for MLB already. It is the first time since the rules change in the First-Year Player Draft that teams have been able to swap certain draft picks. For Detroit, it will mean moving up into the first round for the first time since 2009.
Their selection that year?
You have to love irony.