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Goodbye Dontrelle Willis, Breaking Down the Tigers and Marlins Trade

Dontrelle Willis announced today that he is retiring which shocked the baseball world. Most people assumed he had retired years ago. Back in December 07′ the Marlins and Tigers made a blockbuster trade that sent Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera to the Tigers for Dallas Trahern, Burke Badenhop, Eulogio De La Cruz, Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller, and Mike Rabelo. Now that the trade has had a few years to marinade I thought it would be a good idea to look back and see how things worked out for both teams.

Detroit Tigers:

This trade worked out fantastic despite the fact that Dontrelle Willis was a complete disaster. Why? Miguel Cabrera is one of the top three hitters in all of baseball. Over his time in the D he has hit 30+ HR, 100+ RBI every season and only once did he hit less than .324 (he hit .297 his first year there). He is everything that you want in a hitter.

The Tigers were on the books for about $29 million of Dontrelle’s contract which got them a 2-8 record with a 6.86 ERA. Everyone knew that the Marlins were just unloading Dontrelle’s contract and the Tigers had to eat it and hope that he wasn’t completely awful (which he was). Had the Marlins also been able to throw in Theo Ratliff and Erick Dampiers contracts the Tigers still would have done this deal. Short of trading Babe Ruth you give the farm to acquire a talent like Cabrera.

Florida Marlins:

At the time the Tigers gave the Marlins two very highly touted prospects (Maybin and Miller) so this deal not only got rid of Dontrelle’s contract but it also made them younger and built them for the future. Unfortunately for Marlins fans neither player panned out nor did any player that they acquired. This trade was a disaster of Darko Milicic proportions. Dallas Trahern is yet to make it to the Majors and his stats in the minor are less than impressive. Burke Badenhop played 4 seasons with the Marlins giving them a 13-14 record with a 4.34 ERA. He was later traded for some dude who’s in the minors. Eulogio De La Cruz played 6 whole games and gave the Marlins an 18.00 ERA in 9 innings. He was then purchased by the Padres and released the same season (yes purchased, I didn’t even know that was an option). Cameron Maybin was just a young puppy when he got to Florida but his 3 seasons there were about as exciting as a CBS sitcom staring Mark Harmon. He didn’t hit for much average (.244), get on base much (.310 which isn’t good for a speedy leadoff hitter), hit for power (12 HR’s and 43 RBI’s), or steal many bases (14). He was later traded to the San Diego Padres for Edward Mujica and Ryan Webb. Both of those players only lasted one year with the Fish. Andrew Miller was supposed to be some sort of golden arm but he couldn’t find a way to stay with the big boys. In three very spotty seasons he went 10-20 with a 5.89 ERA and 1.73 WHIP. After having no success (to put it lightly) he was shipped off to the Boston Red Sox for Dustin Richardson. Richardson didn’t play a single game for the Marlins and was picked up on waivers last year by the Braves. Mike Rabelo only played 34 games for the Marlins giving them a .202 average, 3 HR’s, and 28 RBI’s. The return on investment that the Marlins received was about as good as what Bernie Madoff’s clients got.

So to recap: the Tigers ended up paying $94.6 million over the last four years to acquire perennial All Star Miguel Cabrera ($65.6 million (Miguel Cabrera’s contract) + $29 million (Dontrelle Willis contract)).In return for that the Marlins received no players that are currently on their roster or contributed in any way what so ever for the team. How’s that one taste Marlins fans (if there is such thing as a Marlins fan out there)?

Since I’m dropping some Detroit knowledge on you today I thought that I’d bring back one of my favorite videos ever. This is Tigers analyst Rod Allen going buck and starting a riot after some pitcher threw at him while he was playing in Japan. Few videos are as great as this one.

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Rob Cressy

Rob Cressy

Founder/Editor-in-Chief
Sports loving free throw specialist living in Chicago who is awesome most of the time, has run with the bulls in Spain, and is a graduate of Second City's Improv program.
Rob Cressy

@BaconSports

Sports comedy, pop culture, nostalgia and a love of jerseys and bacon. We also created @baconsportsbeer
Rob Cressy
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