Soto vs. Cabrera: Will Nationals fare higher than Marlins did dealing a phenom?

By Jake Mintz
FOX Sports activities MLB Author

A participant like Juan Soto getting traded? What if I instructed you it is (kinda) occurred earlier than? 

Soto going from D.C. to San Diego for a mountain of prospects was the headline of the deadline, if not the entire baseball season. Forty years from now, chances are you’ll not bear in mind who received the 2022 World Collection, however you will all the time bear in mind the drama and intrigue of Soto’s transfer west.

It isn’t simply that gamers this good and this younger do not get traded, it is that there are hardly ever ever gamers this good and this younger. The valuable few celebrity gamers like Soto — extraordinarily younger, with immense expertise and a pedigree of elite manufacturing — are normally untouchable. 

Often.

How Soto strengthens Padres’ lineup and dynamic

How Soto strengthens Padres' lineup and dynamic

Former MLB participant and present Padres broadcaster Tony Gwynn Jr. joins Colin Cowherd to interrupt down the Juan Soto commerce.

Fourteen years in the past this December, the Florida Marlins despatched Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to the Detroit Tigers for a package deal of minor-leaguers that included prime prospects Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller. 

A possible Corridor of Fame slugger two-ish years from free company who’d already carried a group to World Collection glory in his early 20s despatched packing by a rebuilding, penny-pinching franchise that failed to keep up its October success for a bunch of proficient, but unproven prospects … sound acquainted?

The Soto deal was unprecedented, however the Cabrera deal was fairly darn shut. Evaluating and contrasting the 2 blockbusters reveals simply how a lot the league has modified prior to now 14 years and gives a historical past lesson on what occurs when generational abilities are traded so early of their careers.

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the take care of Juan Soto by now: 23 years previous, elite hitter, unbelievable decision-making on the plate, cute little shuffle when he takes pitches, and many others, and many others. He has the fifth-highest OPS+ in baseball historical past amongst hitters with a minimum of 2,000 plate appearances earlier than turning 24. The one names forward of him are Ted Williams, Ty Cobb, Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. Your entire prime 10 are Corridor of Famers or future Corridor of Famers.

Shohei Ohtani, Juan Soto & others make SoCal MLB’s prime expertise pool

Shohei Ohtani, Juan Soto & others make SoCal MLB's top talent pool

Ben Verlander breaks down how Southern California might need probably the most top-tier MLB expertise we have ever seen in a single area.

Although Cabrera is now 39 and a shadow of his former self, he was as soon as the precocious younger celebrity, too. After debuting midway by the 2003 season as a 20-year-old, Cabrera helped lead the Marlins on an unbelievable postseason run. In that notorious NLCS in opposition to the Cubs, Miggy went 10-for-30 with three homers. Within the World Collection, he ripped a homer off Roger Clemens, who was drafted earlier than Cabrera was even born.

Over the subsequent few seasons, Cabrera established himself as top-of-the-line hitters on the planet, slashing .313/.388/.542 with a 143 OPS+ and 138 homers in his first 5 seasons. However because the Marlins failed to duplicate the magic of their ‘03 run, possession grew hesitant to fork over the money wanted to maintain Miggy round for the lengthy haul. 

After the 2007 season, Cabrera began to hit his costlier arbitration years and was simply two years away from reaching free company. So the miserly Marlins began purchasing their transcendent slugger for the very best prospect return.

Cody Stavenhagen of The Athletic wrote an important story earlier this yr that chronicled the beat-by-beat developments that led to Cabrera ending up in Detroit, however the upshot is that this: The Marlins had been low-cost and wished to slash payroll, and the Tigers jumped at a once-in-a-lifetime alternative. 

So on Dec. 5, 2007, the Marlins despatched Miguel Cabrera and Willis to Detroit for pitchers Miller (No. 10 total prospect in response to Baseball America), Dallas Trahern, Frankie De La Cruz and Burke Badenhop, outfielder Cameron Maybin (ranked No. 6 by Baseball America) and catcher Mike Rabelo. 

Notice: Willis had completed second within the NL Cy Younger voting simply two years prior, however he’d actually struggled in 2007 and there have been important considerations across the sport that he’d fallen off. That ended up proving true. This is a vital side when evaluating these two trades as a result of at first look it is like, “You can’t compare them because Dontrelle was Dontrelle.” However on the time of the commerce, he wasn’t actually Dontrelle anymore. A yr of pre-free company Dontrelle then was most likely value barely lower than two months of excellent Josh Bell.

Hindsight is 20/20, and now we all know that Maybin’s swing-and-miss points would restrict his potential and that Miller would not become big-leaguer till he moved to the bullpen after leaving Florida. However on the time, they had been considered as can’t-miss superstars. 

The remainder of the package deal was underwhelming, even on the time. Badenhop had a strong eight-year profession as a non-leverage reliever, however he wasn’t on any prime 10 Tigers prospect listing. De La Cruz was a promising however low-control bullpen arm who threw fuel. Rabelo was only a backup big-league catcher. Trahern was a high-contact, sinker, ground-ball man who ended up having Tommy John surgical procedure and by no means made the bigs. 

Wanting again, it is an absolute catastrophe for the Marlins. The gamers they acquired supplied simply 1.2 WAR over their whole Marlins tenure. Maybin was the one participant to supply a constructive WAR (2.7); the 4 different gamers mixed for a minus-1.5 WAR. 

Cabrera would go on to place up 50.1 WAR (and counting) for the Tigers.

Why Cabrera is perhaps the final MLB participant to achieve 3K hits

Why Cabrera might be the last MLB player to reach 3K hits

In April, Ben Verlander mentioned Miguel Cabrera’s wonderful profession after he joined the three,000-hit membership and defined why the Tigers’ star stands out as the final participant to achieve that milestone.

Time will inform the truest tales, however the prospect package deal Washington acquired seems to be mild years higher than what the Marlins bought from Detroit. The Nats acquired pitchers MacKenzie Gore and Jarlin Susana, outfielders Robert Hassell III and James Wooden, infielder C.J. Abrams and big-league first baseman Luke Voit.

Per FanGraphs, that is 5 of the Padres’ prime eight prospects, plus a priceless big-league bat the Nats will seemingly flip for youth in some unspecified time in the future this offseason. At simply 21 and 23, respectively, Abrams and Gore have already reached the massive leagues however nonetheless have a ton of growth left. Susana throws 1,000,000 miles an hour. Hassell is a high-floor bat with good decision-making on the plate. The 19-year-old Wooden is perhaps the very best of all of them; he is a 6-foot-7 middle fielder with pace and top-of-the-charts uncooked energy.

There is not any good option to commerce Juan Soto — the Nats’ entrance workplace letting the roster get so skinny after successful in 2019 is the true failure right here — however early studies are that D.C. did in addition to might have been anticipated in flipping their celebrity. Even when two or three of their new guys by no means contribute on the big-league degree, it is seemingly there’s a minimum of one future All-Star on this bunch. 

The Cabrera commerce turned out to be catastrophic for the Marlins as a result of their motivations in buying and selling him had been utterly misplaced. The 2007 Marlins roster was flawed, but it surely had some proficient gamers to construct round in 23-year-old Hanley Ramírez and 27-year-old Dan Uggla). The 2022 Nationals, and by proxy the 2023 Nationals, look borderline hopeless. There was no path to competition. That gave the group extra leverage in swapping Soto than the Marlins had in 2007.

At some point, Cabrera can have a Detroit “D” on his cap on his Cooperstown plaque, one thing that appeared inconceivable after his 2003 World Collection run with the Marlins. At one level, Soto appeared destined to be a Nationwide for all times — he is the kind of participant you may’t let get away, proper?

But when the Padres can lock up Soto for the long run just like the Tigers did with Cabrera, maybe someday he’ll be donning the San Diego hat in bronze on his Corridor of Fame plaque.

Jake Mintz is the louder half of @CespedesBBQ and a baseball author for FOX Sports activities. He’s an Orioles fan dwelling in New York Metropolis, and thus, he leads a lonely existence most Octobers. If he’s not watching baseball, he’s nearly definitely using his bike. You’ll be able to comply with him on Twitter @Jake_Mintz.


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