How About Miguel Cabrera?

miguel-cabrera-2While we wait for Jason Bay to make up his mind about playing in Flushing, we may as well consider other alternatives.

During a “hot stove huddle” a few days ago, a rabid and intelligent Mets fan named “Kevin K” proposed that Omar Minaya make a deal for Miguel Cabrera. The more I think about it, the more it makes a lot of sense.

While many eschew him for his weight issues, sloth-like movements in the field, and questionable effort, there’s one thing about Miguel Cabrera that cannot be dismissed: the man can flat-out HIT.

Cabrera is a younger (26) and more versatile version of Manny Ramirez, and fits the Mets needs in so many ways it’s silly. He can play first base, third base, and left field with equal mediocrity, and has the mash-factor necessary to assume the cleanup spot. His career batting average is well over .300, he’s played 157+ games for the past 6 seasons, his power cannot be contained by any ballpark, and he’s a lock to post a .900+ OPS. I can’t think of any reason why the Mets wouldn’t want him.

The question, of course, is whether he’s available.

Considering that the Tigers are in budget-clearing, rebuilding mode, you’d have to believe they’d at least listen to offers. Cabrera is about to enter year three of an eight-year deal, and his salary jumps from $15M last year to $20M in 2010. All told, he’s due $125M through 2015 — when he reaches the ripe old age of 32. That’s a considerable amount of dough for a struggling franchise to swallow, and if Detroit found it necessary to shed the $24M owed to All-Star Curtis Granderson over the next three years, you’d have to think they’d be looking to move Cabrera’s monstrous contract.

And who knows, they might even be willing to take on Luis Castillo’s comparably tiny commitment as part of the deal — with Placido Polanco fleeing to the Phillies, they are in need of a second baseman, after all. Perhaps the Mets would have to also take on Dontrelle Willis and his $12M, but wouldn’t it be worth it? Maybe Willis could make a comeback — it wouldn’t kill the Mets to have another lefthanded pitcher in the organization.

What would the Tigers require in return? Presumably, young, cheap players who are nowhere near free agency. That likely means Dan Murphy, Fernando Martinez, Jon Niese, and Bobby Parnell at minimum. Or perhaps one of that group is replaced with Brad Holt or Jennry Mejia. Maybe the Mets could also wrangle away catcher Gerald Laird or former catcher Brandon Inge as part of the trade — would that sufficiently sweeten the deal for you, particularly if Luis Castillo can also be sent to Detroit (opening 2B for Orlando Hudson) ?

Such a trade would be creative, out-of-the-box, and unexpected. It would also give the Mets the slugger they need — someone who is entering their prime rather than exiting it. The cost would be substantial, but in my mind, well worth it.

What do you think?

09-10 Offseason

About the Author

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.

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