DETROIT Baseballs winter meetings arereturning to the scene of what many Marlins fans believe was a crime.Beginning Monday, thegames general managers, agents, managers and reporters will converge on theGaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, where on Dec. 5, 2007, Tigers GM DaveDombrowski pulled off an eight-player trade that really came down to oneplayer: MiguelCabrera, the 2012 AL MVP.That deal triggeredthree consecutive years of significant dealing at the winter meetings forDombrowski. Six players who became future starters in either the rotation orthe field -- Austin Jackson, Max Scherzer, Gerald Laird, Edwin Jackson,Dontrelle Willis and Cabrera -- came during those meetings.Five years ago, Dombrowskiacquired the franchise cornerstone at Opryland in a blockbuster deal with theMarlins. Cabrera and Willis came to Detroit for two highly-rated prospects --left-handed pitcher Andrew Miller and center fielder Cameron Maybin -- pitchersBurke Badenhop, Eulogio De La Cruz and Dallas Trahern and catcher Mike Rabelo.Miller struggled as astarter but might have finally found his niche in the bullpen last season withBoston, going 3-2 with a 3.35 ERA and striking out 51 in 40 13 innings.
Maybin just signed a five-year, 25 million deal, despite hitting only .243 with26 steals, 67 runs, eight homers and 45 RBIs in 2012 for the Padres.Mike Rabelo is thehitting coach for the Connecticut Tigers after batting .234 in a brief MLBcareer, and Badenhop has been a serviceable reliever for the Marlins and Rays.De La Cruz had a cup of coffee and Trahern has yet to reach the majors.Willis was a disaster,going 2-8 with a 6.86 ERA with Detroit and winning a sum total of four majorleague games after the deal. Still, the Tigers got Cabrera.Four years ago,Dombrowski opened the meetings in Las Vegas by acquiring Laird from theRangers. He would be the regular catcher for two seasons until a lack ofoffense determined that he was an ideal backup with strong defensiveattributes.
Texas got minor-league pitchers Carlos Melo and GuillermoMoscoso. Moscoso, now with the Rockies,is 11-12 with a 4.16 ERA in 57 games in the majors. Melo, 21, hasstruggled and has yet to rise above Single-A ball.Then, before partingVegas, Dombrowski traded corner outfield prospect Matt Joyce to the Rays for pitcherEdwin Jackson. Joyce made the All-Starteam in 2011, batting .277 with 19 homers and 75 RBIs. He hit .241 with 17homers and 59 RBIs last year, and has become a solid starter.
Jackson had agreat first half in 2009, making the All-Star team for the Tigers and finishingat 13-9 with a 3.62 ERA. But that winter, he would become part of one of thebiggest trades in recent years.On Dec. 9, 2009, on achilly afternoon in Indianapolis, Dombrowski connected with Yankees GM BrianCashman and Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes to complete a stunning, seven-playerswap. Seldom has one dealworked out as well for all three clubs.Detroit receivedpitchers Max Scherzer and Daniel Schlereth from Arizona, and center fielderAustin Jackson and reliever Phil Coke from New York.
Scherzer has blossomedinto a dynamite No. 2 pitcher behind Justin Verlander. Jackson nearly wonthe Rookie of the Year Award and is on the verge of an All-Star selection. Cokewent from dependable to despicable to 2012 postseason hero.
Only Schlereth,injured most of last year, has not been productive.Arizona got starters IanKennedy from New York and Edwin Jackson from Detroit. Kennedy has gone 45-26with a 3.55 ERA, and went 21-4 while finishing fourth in 2011 NL Cy Young Awardvoting.
Jackson didnt stay long in Phoenix, but remains a productive pitcherand just signed for 2012 with Washington for 12 million.Granderson has made twoAll-Star teams and hit 84 homers with 225 RBIs in 2011 and 2012. All was rosyuntil he struggled late last year and ended up batting .232 with 195 strikeoutsbefore getting benched in the postseason.It will take a few moreyears to be able to discern the full impact of that deal. But after threeseasons, nobody has received a bigger impact from it than the Tigers. Theyreceived two players currently performing at very high standards and the addedbonus of Coke.Dombrowski has tradedtop prospects for All-Stars and made out like a bandit. He's acquired topprospects for Tigers All-Stars and come out on top. And he's swapped a futureAll-Star for another future All-Star.Winter meetings dealsenabled Detroit to win the 2012 American League pennant, and you can be sureDombrowski will be working on a trade next week in Nashville with hopes ofreturning to the World Series and this time coming out on top.