NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Detroit Tigers dramatically blew past the Los Angeles Angels in the Miguel Cabrera talks here Tuesday, bypassing the Angels to land not only the slugging third baseman, but All-Star left-hander Dontrelle Willis, too.
Now, following Tuesday's blockbuster deal -- agreed to in principal, according to sources with knowledge of the talks, but not expected to be formalized until at least Wednesday -- the question now becomes:
|D-Train and Miggy are headed to Motown. (US Presswire)|
In return for Cabrera, a four-time All-Star, and Willis, a two-time All-Star, the Tigers, according to multiple sources, will send six players to Florida: Outfielder Cameron Maybin, lefty Andrew Miller and catcher Mike Rabelo from their 40-man roster, and three minor league pitchers in Burke Badenhop, Dallas Trahern and Eulogio de la Cruz.
The deal remains contingent on some medical checks and is expected to be announced sometime Wednesday.
Having already acquired shortstop Edgar Renteria from Atlanta earlier this winter and re-signed free agent Kenny Rogers, the Tigers now are loaded on paper and owner Mike Ilitch obviously is serious in his attempt to get back to the World Series. The Tigers were able to add Cabrera, one of the game's best young sluggers, and starting pitching depth in Willis without sacrificing anyone who figured to be on their opening day roster in 2008.
Coming off of a disappointing 2007 follow-up campaign to their '06 World Series appearance, the Tigers are so much better now on paper than they were in either of the past two seasons. Even at that, they won the AL pennant in '06 and finished second in their division, only eight games behind Cleveland, in '07 during an injury-ravaged season in which Rogers, key relievers Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney and designated hitter Gary Sheffield all missed significant time.
Injuries still could sidetrack them. Zumaya already is expected to miss the season's first half following major shoulder surgery when he was hurt moving boxes at his parents' home in Chula Vista, Calif., during the San Diego area wildfires in October.
But so far, the Tigers, who didn't even begin discussing this trade with Florida until Tuesday morning, have strengthened themselves more this winter than anybody else in the AL Central.
The Twins continue negotiating to trade ace Johan Santana -- their talks with Boston remained at a standstill Tuesday evening -- after losing center fielder Torii Hunter to the Angels. They did trade for outfielder Delmon Young from Tampa Bay, but the Twins currently need a third baseman, shortstop, center fielder and, perhaps, another starting pitcher.
Cleveland, which won the division with 96 victories, has added free agent reliever Masahide Kobayashi but has spent most of this week here searching to add a corner outfielder. Currently, the Indians would line up with a left-field platoon of David Dellucci and Jason Michaels. They're dangling starter Cliff Lee while searching for an outfielder, though talks with Pittsburgh for Jason Bay have not gone anywhere.
But they lost out to the Angels in the Hunter sweepstakes. And they spent much of Tuesday attempting to trade for Cabrera, who always has been one of manager Ozzie Guillen's favorite players. Guillen was quick to point out the other day here that he had seen Cabrera in Miami recently and that the third baseman had dropped 15 pounds, hired a personal trainer and has been working out every day.