Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor
Nashville, TN (Sports Network) -
We came into the week expecting a blockbuster, and we got one. Just not the one everyone thought.
The Detroit Tigers swooped in and stole the thunder from any potential Johan Santana deal, as they pulled off one of the biggest blockbusters in recent memory, picking up not only third baseman Miguel Cabrera, but also left-hander Dontrelle Willis from Florida.
Coming seemingly out of nowhere, the Tigers transformed themselves from a run-of-the-mill playoff contender to maybe the best team in all of baseball in a matter of a day.
How can you not like the deal if you are a Tigers fan? You inject Cabrera's bat into a lineup that is already loaded with the likes of Magglio Ordonez, Gary Sheffield, Carlos Guillen and Curtis Granderson, among others. Plus, you put Willis into a rotation that will be headed up by right-handers Justin Verlander and Jeremy Bonderman, and rounded out by southpaws Kenny Rogers and Nate Robertson.
You could see Detroit manager Jim Leyland licking his chops on Wednesday when he spoke to the media about his team's potential.
Willis' stay in the Motor City may be short-lived, however. There is some talk that Willis could be flipped to the New York Mets along with catcher Ivan Rodriguez in a package.
The Mets are apparently trying to have every catcher in baseball on their roster at some point this offseason. Well, everyone except Paul Lo Duca, that is. Lo Duca, by the way, is apparently close to a deal with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Miguel Cabrera adds another strong bat to an already loaded Tigers offense.
On the flip side of the mega-deal are the Florida Marlins. I felt kind of bad for their skipper Fredi Gonzalez on Wednesday. While there was a crowd around Leyland listening to him wax poetic about his new lineup, there was Gonzalez speaking to about seven reporters. He should probably get used to that kind of audience, because that is about how many people are going to be showing up for his home games this season.
I mean, really, how can you sell that team to your fans?
Florida, though, got six legitimate prospects. This is how they built their 2003 World Championship team. Could they have just planted the seeds of another championship? Only time will tell, but I think it is going to be a long year in Marlins land this season.
The other big move of the week came early Thursday morning, when it started to leak out that Andruw Jones had agreed to a two-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Jones had been linked to the Kansas City Royals all week long, but those close to him said he wanted to stay in the National League, and in the end he did, signing a two-year, $36.2 million deal.
The way the deal breaks down is that Jones, who supposedly has a full no-trade clause, will receive a $12 million signing bonus and a $9 million salary this season. He will then get paid $15 million in 2009.
It is a far cry from the five-year, $90 million deal he was seeking, but he did well nonetheless. If he gets back to form, he will have a chance at another payday in two years. He is only 30 years old, so a really big payday still could be on the horizon. Now, though, he is going to have to get by on an average of $18 million a season for the next couple of years. Somehow I don't see him panhandling on a street corner anytime soon.
The Dodgers could at this point make a push for a big-time starter like Erik Bedard, Dan Haren or even Santana. They have the chips to get one of them, but have been hesitant. With Joe Torre at the helm in a very winnable division, their time is now. Go get an ace.
Speaking of Santana, that saga continued to drag on with no resolution in sight. In fact, the situation is even more clouded with other teams now apparently entering the fray. Who knows how that whole thing will turn out.
I predicted a while back that he was probably going to wind up staying in Minnesota and we appear to be headed that way. It makes sense for the Twins. Worst case scenario, they get Santana for another year and he teams up with Francisco Liriano to form the league's best 1-2 punch. Best case, he wins another Cy Young Award and Minnesota owner Carl Pohlad decides to reach into his extremely deep pockets and lock him up long-term at some point,
Along the same lines, Boston and the Yankees were pretty quiet this week. Probably the reason the week was, for the most part, a dud. No offense to the likes of David Riske and Chris Gomez, or Elijah Dukes and Carlos Quentin.
All in all there was an awful lot of talk and not much action. There are still moves to be made, though. Bedard will be dealt at some point this winter, and Aaron Rowand is still looking for a team.
So if your team did not do much this past week, relax - we still have about four months until pitchers and catchers report.