With the 2016 Major League Baseball season coming close to the end, the free agency and trade season will soon begin, something some of us know as “hot stove” baseball from all the rumors that cook out there.
One that got dangled out there was the Detroit Tigers reportedly putting All-Star first baseman and slugger Miguel Cabrera on the trade block and will take calls on him this winter.
Detroit is in a rebuilding pattern and with Cabrera at 33 years old and making a lot of money, it makes sense for the Tigers to see what they can get for Cabrera. With this kind of caliber of player on the market, some of the big market and big payroll teams will, of course, be linked to this; the Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays and New York Mets are some teams who have payroll and a need. And then, of course, you have the New York Yankees, who always seem tied to every big player who’s always put on the market and this past week, the Yankees were linked to trade rumors involving Cabrera and why they should pull the trigger.
If this were 2006, the Yankees going after Cabrera would make absolute sense. They no longer have their starting first baseman since Mark Teixeira just retired, they have payroll if needed to absorb his contract, and they now have one of the best farm systems in all of the baseball considering they have all the prospects from the trades they made over the summer when they dealt Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller, and Carlos Beltran.
Plus it’s the Yankees, it’s a big name superstar who slugs a lot of home runs; he’d easily be an instant draw in the Bronx. And don’t forget, the Yankees at one time wanted Cabrera in 2007 when he was a third baseman and Alex Rodriguez opted out of his contract and the Yankees were briefly not interested in re-signing him, but A-Rod eventually re-signed and Cabrera got traded from the then-Florida Marlins to the Tigers that winter.
But there’s one problem; this isn’t 2006 and the Yankees aren’t trading for every single superstar out there.
The Yankees have spent the last year rebuilding their farm system and have a first baseman in the system who’s been rehabbing an injury in Greg Bird. In 2015, Bird got his first taste of major league action and looked primed to be the guy to take the first baseman reigns for Teixeira once his tenure ended, but then he tore a labrum in his shoulder and needed season-ending shoulder surgery, which took him out for the entire 2016 season.
Some have wondered if Bird will be ready to go for the 2017 season; the Yankees have sent Bird to the fall league to get him some playing time and some reps to get him ready for the season and get him prepared before he reports for spring training in February.
In the past, maybe the Yankees decide to go for Cabrera and not go with Bird; something they used to do with some of their past prospects. But again, this isn’t 10 years ago, the Yankees aren’t dealing away their farm system for players like Cabrera.
While it’s a nice dream for some fans to have to envision Cabrera hitting moon shots out of Yankee Stadium, don’t count on the Yankees to make any kind of deal with the Tigers this winter to land him considering that type of deal would undo everything the team has done over the last year to rebuild the system.
If Bird is slow to get out of the gate in 2017 and isn’t all the way back from the injury, the team can always re-sign Billy Butler, who was on the team in the final month and spelled Teixeira at first base and played DH after Aaron Judge’s injury, and did a fine job playing in his one month with the team.
Could the Tigers end up trading Cabrera this winter? Of course, and there’d be teams interested who’d be willing to add him for a championship run.
But just don’t count on the Yankees being one of those teams this winter to try and make a deal for him because the days of the Yankees trading for every slugger on the market are long gone.