Tigers hit a home run by acquiring Willis, Cabrera

BOB ELLIOTT -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:54 AM ET

NASHVILLE -- Good things come to those who defy the commissioner.

Operating with a stockpile of young prospects, built from ignoring slot money in the draft, Detroit Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski -- not the New York Yankees, not Boston Red Sox -- yesterday pulled off the biggest trade of the winter meeting.

The Florida Marlins and the Tigers agreed to an eight-player trade, which features third baseman Miguel Cabrera and lefty Dontrelle Willis heading to Motown.

Coming into the meetings, the Los Angeles Angels were the lead team of sled dogs to acquire the talented Cabrera. When those talks died, the Tigers swooped in to land not only Cabrera but all-star lefty Willis as well.

The Marlins will get lefty Andrew Miller, outfielder Cameron Maybin, catcher Mike Rabelo and minor-league pitchers Burke Badenhop, Eulgio De La Cruz and Dallas Tahern.

Miller (5-5, 5.63) the Tigers first-round pick in 2006, was signed to a four-year $5.4 million US deal, with a $3.35 million signing bonus, which was the highest bonus, despite the fact he was chosen sixth over-all.

Maybrin (.143, one, two, with the Tigers, .304, 10, 44 at single-A Lakeland, was Detroit's first pick in 2005. He received $2.65 million when he was selected 10th over-all. Selecting eighth, the Tampa Bay Rays gave Wade Townsend $1.5 million.

Cabrera, a four-time all-star, this season hit .320 with 34 homers and 119 RBIs for the Marlins. He has a career .313 average over five seasons with the Marlins, as well as a career .542 slugging percentage.

Listed at 185 pounds when he was called up when the Marlins won the '03 World Series, Cabrera played this season at about 255 pounds.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said Cabrera is on a weight loss program.

Willis is a two-time all-star.

He was 10-15 with a 5.17 ERA this season. In 2005, the lefty was 22-10 with a 2.63 ERA and was second in Cy Young balloting.

The teams didn't even talk until yesterday morning. The Marlins said they wanted six players. Detroit called back two hours with a done deal.

Like when he obtained shortstop Edgar Rentaria soon after the season ended, or a year ago when he grabbed Gary Sheffield from the Yankees days after the World Series ended, Dombrosksi moved quickly


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