Now for the guy who didn't opt out during the World Series, doesn't command the back pages of tabloids in the big city and admittedly maybe should cut back on a cheeseburger or two each week to keep that baby fat away.
Now, with Alex Rodriguez's return to the Bronx all but officially recorded in presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani's datebook, Florida is viewing a narrowed-down field as the Marlins work toward trading All-Star third baseman Miguel Cabrera.
|Miguel Cabrera is available -- for a big price. (Getty Images)|
Also helps them, uh, avoid the dual problems of having to hire too many extra stadium ushers and parking lot attendants. Helps allow them to keep their fan base at a miniscule level, which in turn helps with in-house creature comforts as their fans can stretch out, maybe throw their legs across the seat in front of them and extend their arms across the seats on either side.
Cabrera is coming off of a season in which he hit .320 with 34 homers and 119 RBI. Not A-Rod numbers, if you're in the market for a third baseman, but Cabrera is the next-best thing even if he is set to fly past the $10 million mark for 2008 via arbitration.
The Yankees, who expressed early interest, are out. The Red Sox will be out if they re-sign Mike Lowell, as expected (though Philadelphia is taking a hard run at him, and the dimensions in Citizens Bank Park lend themselves to Lowell's style of hitting).
Right now, roadside signs point toward Los Angeles, where the Dodgers and Angels each need a big bat in the lineup and a presence at third.
While Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest declined comment on his efforts to move Cabrera, multiple sources say that the Marlins are seeking a multi-player package -- three or four players -- of prospects who are either major-league ready or nearly major-league ready.
These would be players in the zero-to-three years' service time category that the Marlins could control for several seasons and who preferably would be a couple of years away from being arbitration-eligible.
Essentially, the Marlins are trying to replicate the 2005 trade that sent pitcher Josh Beckett and Lowell to Boston for a package that included Hanley Ramirez, the productive shortstop; Anibal Sanchez, who fired a no-hitter two summers ago and two other young pitchers.
The Marlins met multiple times with the Angels during the general managers' meetings in Florida earlier this month, and they met with the Dodgers as well.
From Florida's perspective, any deal with the Angels likely would have to include second baseman Howie Kendrick, who batted .322 in 88 games with the Angels last season, pitching prospect Nick Adenhart, plus others.
The Marlins' holes are many, but most pressing is the need for a starting pitcher, a catcher and improved defense.
With A-Rod now out of the picture, the list of those clubs in need of a third baseman has crystallized even more, though one thing that still could affect the Marlins' efforts to deal Cabrera is what Minnesota decides to do with ace Johan Santana.
The Dodgers, for example, engaged the Twins in serious trade talks down the stretch last season, and discussed some of the same prospects for Santana then -- such as Kemp -- that likely would need to be included in a deal for Cabrera.
The Red Sox's interest in Cabrera would be piqued if they can't reach a free agent agreement with Lowell. The Marlins also have spoken to San Francisco and the Chicago White Sox, among others.
Sources say that no deal is imminent -- there are some clubs like the Twins that need to figure out which way they're going, and that in turn will affect clubs like the Dodgers (Santana or Cabrera?), which will affect the Marlins -- but talks are ongoing. A source with knowledge of the discussions says that the Marlins ideally would like to move Cabrera between now and the end of the winter meetings, which run from Dec. 3-6 in Nashville, Tenn.