When the Tigers traded for Miguel Cabrera, they no doubt got one of the best hitters in baseball. As a fan of the Indians, my first thought was "oh f***." Now, a few months later, I have changed my mind. The trade might not be that bad, the Tigers still did get one of the best hitters in baseball, but was it what they really needed?
The Tigers already had one of the best lineups in baseball. They didn't need another big bat, yet they added one and didn't address their biggest concern, which is pitching. Last season their pitching staff, namely their bullpen, was one of the worst in baseball. They have done absolutely nothing to address this. In fact, they took away from their pitching staff (Andrew Miller.)
The Tigers remind me a lot of the Yankees, awesome lineup, not very good pitching or defense. I then thought, what if the Yankees had traded Joba Chamberlain, Milky Cabrera and four lesser ranked prospects for Cabrera and Willis? I bet New York fans would FLIP. This would essentially be the same package the Tigers gave up with Miller being a top 10/15 prospect, and Maybrin actually projecting to be a better player thank Milky Cabrera.
Looking into things a litter deeper, taking defense into consideration (Cabrera being the worst fielding 3B in the league, Inge being one of the best) Cabrera is worth about 3-4 more wins per season than Inge. Then you add in Willis, who is really a wild card. If he has a season anything like last years, he has negative value, and would be worth less wins than anything Andrew Miller would give you.
Look at some of the big name pitchers that have been dealt this off-season. Dan Haren, Erik Bedard, ect. Now, the Tigers could have put together an offer centerign around Camren Maybrin and say 2 low ranked prospects, and it would be head and shoulders better than what the Diamondbacks gave up for Haren. They easily could of landed Erik Bedard for what they gave the Marlins, and probably would of given up less. Looking at what the M's gave up, the Tigers might of been able to keep Miller and still landed Bedard for Maybrin & other high prospects.
The question now becomes for Tigers fans, would your team be better off with Cabrera & Willis or either Dan Haren or Erik Bedard, along with Inge, Miller, Maybrin and some relief pitching?? I am not trying to take an unnecessary shot at the Yankees, but they have proved for almost a decade that having an all-star lineup does not mean a world series victory. Look at winners of the past few world series.
07 - Red Sox (top overall pitching staff in the AL. Team that represented the NL had the best defensive of all-time.)
06 - Cardinals (best defense in the NL that season & a very good pen.)
05 - White Sox (top bullpen in the MLB, one of the best pitching staffs in the AL)
and I can go on and on and on...you get the point. When you already have 5 or 6 all-star caliber hitters in your lineup, to be it would be more significant to add a true ace to a below average pitching staff than to add one more all-star caliber bat.
And looking at their staff...Verlander is a true ace, no doubt about it. Bonderman has NEVER had an ERA under 4 in his career...although people want you to believe he is some sort of Cy Young contender, he really is not that good. Willis had a 1.60 WHIP in the NL, and with the most run support in the NL last season won all of 10 games. Kenny Rogers is a huge injury risk, and Robertson is well below average. Miller, a future F.O.R. pitcher and their 6th starter for this season is gone. Nobody in the minors is ready if/when there is an injury. And call me crazy, but I don't see Rogers going 200 innings.
I know they have a "win now" mentality, but I think they about it the wrong way. They could of traded Maybrin and others for a legit ace (Haren or Bedard) kept Miller, and kept the best defensive 3B in the AL, if not all of baseball. And looking into it further...how will the Tigers look in, say 2 years? Rogers will be retired, and Sheff probably will too. Renteria and Polanco will be old. Guillen, with his D, may be a full-time DH. Miggy should not be a 3B on a major league team for much longer, with his glove. He will either be 1B or DH. Ordonez will be 2 years older, Todd Jones will be gone, and they have no farm system. As a Indians fan, this pleases me. They won't be 119 loss bad, but they won't be a playoff contender either.
Bottom line, I think the Tigers dropped the ball on this one. They already have an all-star lineup, and no pitching, yet chose to address the lineup. They will be a watered down version of the Yankees, win around 88 games and miss the playoffs this season, and because of this trade, be a 4th place team in 2 years.