"We're watching one of the greatest right-handed hitters who ever lived." That's what an AL scout told ESPN's Jayson Stark this week for his new piece, titled "We are witnessing greatness," incidentally, about slugger Miguel Cabrera. The article details just what a ridiculous thing Miguel Cabrera has become, ridiculous as in he has become a completely awesome baseball disconfiguring machine.
Cabrera should be a Marlin, but he's not, and that fact hurts more and more with every GIF of Miggy stroking a baseball into the upper deck. Stark's piece makes it more clear than ever: the Fish trading their portly third baseman six years ago is now in the conversation for the worst trade ever, in any professional sport, period. Let's revisit the facts.
On December 7th, 2007 the Marlins agreed to trade Miguel Cabrera and Dontrell Willis to the Detroit Tigers for outfielder Cameron Maybin, pitcher Andrew Miller, catcher Mike Rabelo and minor league pitchers Eulogio De La Cruz, Dallas Trahern and Burke Badenhop.
Look again at those names. Those names put this trade on the sucky side of the worst trade in sports history. All sports. The sale of Babe Ruth from the Red Sox to the Yankees included.
At the time, the Marlins had numerous excuses as to why a player that was obviously on his way to a Hall of Fame career was no longer a part of their future. He got fat. He committed too many errors. They couldn't afford him. Pick an excuse, any excuse, but none of them make up for the fact that if any of them were remotely true, they still completely botched his dealing in historical fashion.
Not buying it? Let's take a look at where the players the Marlins got for the best righthanded hitter of his generation have ended up.
At the time Maybin was considered the prized gem coming to the Marlins. In return, he would only play 144 games for the team. In that time he hit 12 home runs and knocked in 43 RBIs. While he was not considered a power hitter by any means, his speed was thought to be elite. He stole 14 bases for the Marlins. The Marlins would trade Maybin to the Padres for two middle relievers in 2010. Maybin just sucked a lot. He sits on the Padres DL this season batting under .200 with one home run.
The Miguel Cabrera trade was really about two guys, Maybin and Andrew Miller. In three seasons with the fish Miller tallied ERA's of 5.87, 4.84, and 8.54 in 41 starts, totaling a 10-20 record. Now he sports a Duck Dynasty style beard pitching .2 innings at a time for the Red Sox. More like Suck Dynasty if you ask me.
Rabello lasted all of 109 plate appearances with the big club, hitting .202 with 3 home runs and 10 RBI's, or about what Miguel Cabrera totals in a double header these days. After his failed Marlin career he went back to the Tigers where he spent a few years as a Triple A backup catcher, before retiring to be of all things, a hitting coach. I have nothing else to say about Mike Rabello.
Eulogio De La Cruz
When ELC got to the Marlins he was a mysterious 101 mph throwing man. A little over a year later he was traded to the Padres for cash (shocking), before joining the storied Tokyo Yakult Swallows. Let's call this one a push since the Marlins may have paid for that Bobble head kiosk at the park with the money acquired in this deal.
He's known as a sinker ball pitcher that had Tommy John surgery in 2009. This completes the Dallas Trahern portion of this blog.
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When the best player you got for what will be one of the best ball players of all-time goes by the nickname "The Hopper" you may not have done so well in said transaction. Badenhop lasted all of 250 innings with the Marlins, recording two saves while blowing three. On a team that routinely saw it's starting pitcher taking a shower by the third inning Badenhop was actually semi-useful for a hot second, then the Marlins traded him in 2011 to the Rays for no one you have heard of. Now residing in the Brewers bullpen The Hopper remains an average long reliever. He's actually the one that got away here.
While these Marlins have come and gone all Miguel Cabrera has done is hit 221 home runs, 714 RBI's, and in 2012 won the first Triple Crown since Carl Yastrzemski did it with the Red Sox a billion years ago. I'm assuming in 2007, if you had told the Marlins their third baseman would be Ed Lucas, they would have thought twice before pulling the trigger.
And that ladies and gentlemen is the worst trade in professional sports history.