Why the Florida Marlins Should Trade Miguel Cabrera

We’ve been debating here what to do with Miguel Cabrera and here is one view:

The more I think about it, the more I am OK with trading Cabrera (assuming the trade is for value).

With all this Cabrera talk, did anybody every realize that trading him might not be the a bad thing for the club? First, they can get a lot in return (and are apparently asking for a lot). Second, given the Marlins’ revenue constraints, is Cabrera really worth the cost?

Take a look at these stats… Is Cabrera really that far ahead of Hanley or Uggla?

Cabrera 3B 157 588 91 188 38 2 34 119 332 79 127 2 1 .401 .565 .320
Ramirez SS 154 639 125 212 48 6 29 81 359 52 95 51 14 .386 .562 .332
Uggla 2B 159 632 113 155 49 3 31 88 303 68 167 2 1 .326 .476 .245

Hanley struck out 30% less while having 10% more total bases than Cabrera and still hitting nearly 30 home runs and having nearly identical slugging percentage. That, and Ramirez can steal bases while Cabrera prefers to eat them. Uggla, in the meantime, strikes out way too much, but puts up very respectable numbers. So, while losing Cabrera would mean losing a well known player, it doesn’t, necessarily, hurt the team’s offense as much as, say, the Heat playing without Dwayne Wade or any football team losing its quarterback (not using the Dolphins as an example since they don’t really have a good quarterback). The question then has to be asked, with Ramirez and Uggla (not to mention Hermida, Willingham, and Jacobs — all of whom can hit 20 home runs and in Hermida’s case, for average if healthy), is Cabrera really the “franchise player” on which the future of this team hangs? Or is this just a popularity issue?

Now, if you are the Marlins, you can keep Cabrera for now but can you keep him in the future (and will you want to?). In the long run (even with a stadium) it will be impossible to keep Cabrera and Ramirez (in addition to young pitchers like Olsen, Nolasco, Sanchez, Mitre, and Johnson). In fact with many of those joining the team at the same time, it seems that down the road the Marlins will hit a time when these young talented players will all be arbitration eligible during the same year and their salaries will increase exponentially. Even with a stadium, the Marlins will never have a revenue stream like the Yankees or Red Sox which will allow them to sign and keep all those players. In other words, Cabrera will either get traded some day or be lost to free agency. Alternatively, the Marlins could plan to keep Cabrera in the long run but that would mean planning on losing one of the other young talented players. Would you keep Cabrera, a player who has shown himself to be lazy and indifferent at times and who for two seasons now has been completely unable to control his physical conditioning and declining defensive skills, or do you keep the guys that hustle and will be able to do something other than hitting? Last I checked baseball does not maintain separate defensive and offensive squads. The concern is that while Cabrera will become the equivalent of Pavel Bure — offensively flashy, defensively useless, and always a member of a losing team, guys like Ramirez and Uggla are dedicated and hardworking.

That leaves the last question — do you keep Cabrera now, knowing that he will be gone in the future? That depends on whether you can get the trade value you want. This team has many holes that need to be filled in. After last year, we can all admit there is much room for improvement. Trading Cabrera is the most efficient way to fill those holes while securing this team’s on-field future.

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