You've no doubt heard the media hype around the megadeal last night between the Tigers and the Marlins. The Tigers landed Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis for the bulk of their farm system, including Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin.
Every White Sox fan I know is groaning and conceding the division to the Tigers based on this trade. Given their success the last 2 years, I can buy that they'll be in the hunt again this year, especially with the Twins in sell-off mode. Still, this was a horrible trade for the Tigers when you look at it closer, and Sox fans ought to rejoice that it was made.
Andrew Miller is a better pitcher than Dontrelle Willis. Today. Miller is a dominating left-hander with 1A stuff. He will become the Marlins ace immediately. Willis, on the other hand, might be a bargain at 6.5 million dollars, but he's a #3 pitcher at best. He's had a grand total of two years where his ERA was below 3.80 IN THE NATIONAL LEAGUE. It was 5.17 last year. NL OBP against Dontrelle the last 2 years has been .350 and .367. Welcome to the best division in baseball, Dontrelle. Can't wait to see your home/road splits.
Then there's Miguel Cabrera. No doubt one of the better young hitters in baseball, but the comparisons to Pujols are ridiculous. The Tigers already have the prototype for Cabrera. His name is Magglio Ordonez. A below-average fielder who will struggle to hit 30 HRs playing 81 games in Comerica. He'll give them a .400 OBP, .900 OPS season year in and year out. He'll drive in 110. Great numbers, don't get me wrong.
The name of the game in the AL, though, is pitching, which is why the Yankees and Red Sox are targeting Johan Santana and Dan Haren. It's why the White Sox won the World Series in 2005. The Tigers pitching just got worse.
Ken Williams still needs a CF, and while he's said Andruw Jones isn't a target, he didn't say he was out of the discussion, either. For all of the talk of Andruw Jones "bad body type", and his "down year" last year, Jones still managed to hit 26 HRs and knock in 94. The previous 2 years he hit 51 and 41 HRs while playing gold glove defense in....CF, a position of need. He would also cost the White Sox 0 prospects, as he is a Free Agent.
Could you imagine that kind of power/defense combination in hitter-friendly US Cellular Field? Signing Jones would be a much bigger upgrade in CF for the White Sox than Cabrera is at 3B for the Tigers, and could be done while keeping the farm system intact. It also would still leave the ability to trade Joe Crede to fill another hole (2B, bullpen). The big problem with signing Jones is his agent, one Scott Boras. He and the White Sox don't exactly get along that well. Hence, Crede's looming departure.
Speaking of Crede, Milwaukee is looking a likely destination, though what Williams would get in return is anyone's guess.