Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Big Trade Complete (No, Not That One)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tigers’ acquisition of Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis from Florida will have repercussions for the Twins, perhaps even immediately.

For one thing, it makes Detroit the new favorites in the AL Central next year, making the Twins’ task of returning to the playoffs immediately that much more difficult. The Tigers now have a lineup that will go something like Granderson-Polanco-Sheffield-Ordonez-Cabrera-Guillen-Rodriguez-Renteria-Thames, which is a little scary.

But by rejecting offers from the Dodgers and Angels, have the Marlins shoved those high-payroll teams back into the Santana Sweepstakes? Both teams have plenty of young prospects to offer, and a thirst to outdo each other that’s only a little less intense than Red Sox-Yankees.

The Angels deny they’ve talked to the Twins, but that was while they were still pursuing Cabrera. Now? Well, this is a team that has a history of making fast and decisive moves, as Torii Hunter could tell you.

The deal also figures to make Brandon Inge available, but he’s probably a longshot for the Twins. He’s 30 years old and coming off a .236 season, but he’s owed $19 million for the next three years. He can field the position, and hit an occasional home run (70 in the past four seasons in spacious Comerica Park), but the Twins probably want a more permanent (or less costly) option.

-- Phil Miller

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