Miguel Cabrera with the Marlins.

Should your MLB team gut its farm system for Juan Soto? The Miguel Cabrera trade provides some perspective

Juan Soto’s situation is a lot, but it is not entirely unprecedented. Players with Soto’s age and resume become available for trade perhaps once in a generation, and the price it takes to catch a Washington Nationals outfielder is likely to reflect this. The Nations reportedly want four or five “youngers” (read: prospects or MLB players with shorter service times), and that’s going to put a lot of teams on pause.

should it be? Well, it’s not easy. It is impossible to accurately decide the winner of any soto trade, as we don’t really know what the players going to DC will turn out to be, and that’s why it’s a scary trade out of top 100 probability. He could become another Juan Soto.

However, it might be possible to get some perspective from what is probably the closest thing we have to Soto as an example: a player who was an NL East star and one of MLB’s best hitters at a young age, with a World Series ring. Was 20 years old. years old, and was traded for a bunch of prospects whose careers we have seen since then.

We’re talking about Miguel Cabrera, who was decided by the then Florida Marlins to be too expensive to keep long term and traded to the Detroit Tigers in 2007 at the age of 24, now a year older than Soto. Is. Cabrera would have a Hall-of-Fame career in Detroit with .309/.385/.522 hits, including 368 homers, seven All-Star nods, five Silver Sluggers, four batting titles and two MVP awards in 15 seasons . Thursday.

According to Baseball Reference’s edition of Wins Above Replacements (BWAR), he is worth 68.7 wins for Detroit.

Miguel Cabrera with the Marlins.

Miguel Cabrera continued his Hall of Fame career after being traded to the Tigers. (Photo by Mark Serota/Getty Images)

There are clearly differences between the 2022 Soto and the 2007 Cabrera, but their business value shouldn’t be too far off. Like the Nationals, the Marlins wanted a raft of possibilities for their young star and eventually got it from the Tigers, who turned and extended the Cabrera that the Marlins were trying to avoid.

The Marlins asked several other teams as well, so let’s see what each team could have paid for Cabrera, and whether they’ll regret the trade now, which is what we’re missing when we talk about Soto.

We’ll start with the trade that actually happened. All possible rankings come from Baseball America’s top 100 pre-2008, unless otherwise noted.

Detroit Tigers

Package: Cameron Mabin (No. 6 overall prospect), Andrew Miller (No. 10 in 2007), Burke Badenhope, Eulogio de la Cruz, Mike Rabello, Dallas Trahern (and received Dontrell Willis)

The thing you have to understand about this package is that many people thought it was monstrous those days. The Tigers wanted their star hitter and paid dearly for him, leaving two top-20 prospects at Mabin and Miller, as well as four other surviving bodies.

Mabin’s career would be a respectable-enough career as a starting center fielder with 92 ops+ (originally, 8 percent worse than the league average when adjusted for Park and Year), but never an All-Star team. did not make Miller never envisioned success for him as a starting pitcher, but his second act as a reliever was the best he had done by anyone in the group.

Should the Tigers have done this? God, yes.

Los Angeles Angels

Package: Howie Kendrick (No. 12 pre 2006), Ervin Santana, Jeff Mathis (No. 60 pre 2006), Nick Edenhart (No. 24)

No team popped up more in trade speculation for Cabrera than the Angels, who eventually balked at the aforementioned package.

It’s hard to deny Kendrick eventually led many to believe he could be a high-contact second baseman who could fit into the top of any lineup. He made only one All-Star team, but is ranked 11th all-time over the Angels in bWAR.

Santana also found considerable success with 101 ERA+ throwing 2,486.2 innings, while Mathis spent 17 years in the big leagues as a back-up catcher. Tragically, Edenhart died in 2009 in a collision with a drunk driver.

Should the Angels have done this? probably. Yes, two of their biggest names turned out fine, but imagine Cabrera and Mike Trout in the same lineup, then come back to me.

Chicago White Sox

The Package: Gio Gonzalez (No. 26), Ryan Sweeney (No. 55 Pre-2007), Josh Fields

The important name here is Gonzalez, who had a great career … for teams that weren’t the White Sox. Chicago ended up trading him and Sweeney to the Oakland Athletics for a year to Nick Swisher in 2008.

Gonzalez found success with the Oakland and Washington Nationals, creating two All-Star teams and placing third in the Cy Young voting in 2012. Cabrera won the AL MVP that year.

Should the White Sox have done this? Obviously yes, but it looks like they were out of bidding.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Package: Clayton Kershaw (No. 7), Matt Kemp (No. 96 in 2006), James Looney (No. 44)

Total career bWAR: 104.1 (and counting)

The general lesson from this list is not to hold your chances too close, but there is an exception to every rule, and his name is Clayton Kershaw.

We don’t really need to explain what Kershaw did, the fact that he started an All-Star Game this year speaks for itself. Kemp also brought a Ryan Braun short of the MVP award in 2011 and has been in the majors for 15 years, while Looney has had little success as a high-contact, low-powered first baseman.

Should the Dodgers have done this? They are the only team here whose answer is emphatically no.

Boston Red Sox

Package: Clay Buchholz (No. 4), Jacobi Ellsbury (No. 13)

Buchholz really looked like he was about to become MLB’s next ace at one point. He had some good years and threw a no-hitter in the second start of his career, but the injury gods were not kind to him. The better player in this package was Ellsbury, who, like Kemp, was just short of the MVP award in 2011.

Should the Red Sox have done this? Yes, but they have two more World Series rings than the Tigers as it goes down.

Cleveland Guardian

Packages: Adam Miller (No. 29), Asdrobal Cabrera, and more

Total career bWAR: 29.6, more

Miller is the rare top prospect that won’t even see the majors, as multiple hand surgeries in 2009 left him ineffective. Cabrera turned out rather well, although “well” in this case means a solid-hitting shortstop that made two All-Star teams and then began a travelsman career.

Should the Guardians have done this? Yes, because the pitching possibilities will break your heart.

Other Players MLB Teams Refused to Include

There were generally a few teams interested in Cabrera, but the central pieces the Marlins sought out turned out to be non-starters. They are here.

  • new York Yankees: Phil Hughes (No. 4 pre-2007), Joba Chamberlain (No. 3) or Ian Kennedy (No. 45)

  • St. Louis Cardinals: Colby Rasmus (No. 5)

  • San Francisco Giants: Tim Linscom (No. 11 pre-2007)

Again, the pitching prospects will break your heart, but they may also win two Cy Young Awards and three World Series rings before they do.

So they are your MLB Ghosts of Christmas Past. Look at all those top-100 rankings, then look at this list of Soto mock trades, then ask yourself, are those prices really that sharp?

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