Few things were capable of disrupting my weeks in the making meticulous plan to creepily stalk about the Hannah Montana concert at the Palace this evening. In fact the only two things I could think of that would deter my plan would be 1: Being contacted by the FBI or 2: The Tigers pulling off the biggest trade in my lifetime for a 24 year old third baseman with Hall of Fame potential who could be a Tiger for the next 10-12 years and a solid if not spectacular 25 year old left-hander three seasons removed from winning 22 games and whose presence provides the Tigers with enough depth in their rotation to ban the likes of Chad Durbin to the seventh circle of hell, which if I remember correctly from my European history class is patrolled by Centaurs and houses violent sodomites and disappointing No. 5 starters or in the case of Jason Grilli, both. I know this will upset the swamp monsters that crawl out of the primordial ooze known as Lake Erie, don tattered Charles Nagy t-shirt jerseys and call themselves Indians fans but the Tigers just clinched the Central Division on December 4th 2007 a full five months before Opening Day. Even though the deal is over a day old I'm still too excited to write about this trade coherently so I'm going to break down the key players of the deal one at a time beginning with Mike Rabelo....haha, just kidding, who cares about Rabelo?
1: Miguel Cabrera: I've been slow to embrace sabermetrics in the past but I've been trying very hard to catch up and learn the various formulas and analyses needed to project future performance and compare players across generations and after running some numbers on Cabrera's addition to the Tigers lineup I project the Tigers will score somewhere between 950 and 4 glorjabillion runs next season and, even more amazing, through the age of 24 Miguel Cabrera's numbers are most similar to 1: Jesus H. Christ who OPS'ed an astounding 1.084 over 5 seasons in the Galilee Federal League (GFL) before his growing popularity earned him a suspicious lifetime ban under the orders of Commissioner Kennesaw Moutain Pilate, 2: Hank Aaron and 3: Hitbot v.2.8 a automaton specifically programmed to hit baseballs. O.k. I realize I might be overstating things....slightly, but if you go to the indispensable baseball-reference.com and look at the ten players most similar to Cabrera by age, six of the players listed are Hall-of Famers (including Aaron, Frank Robinson and Mantle), 2 of them are arguably future Hall of Famers (Griffey Jr. and Vladdy) and the remaining two aren't that bad either (Andruw Jones and Hal Trosky). I still can't wrap my head around the fact that four years ago I was rooting for a Tigers team that was trotting out a lineup that had the likes of Bobby Higginson, Dmitri Young and Eric Munson as the heart of its order to cheering for a team that is rolling out a 3-4-5 of Sheffield, Ordonez and Cabrera and also features 5 other past/current/future All-Stars at every position with the exception being Jacques Jones in left-field who probably feels as inadequate in that lineup as I would in the Pistons locker room shower. Had I slipped into a coma 4 years ago and woke up today to find the Tigers had joined the Red Sox and Yankees as baseball's superpowers I would have immediately assumed that society had crumbled and the world was being run by apes. This lineup is so potent that it should be able to overcome any deficiencies in the bullpen and build leads large enough that Jason Grilli himself won't be able to blow them, try as he might. (Is it petty to throw in a pointless sentence at the end of this paragraph to take a second shot at Grilli even though the season ended 2 months ago and I should be over any lingering bitterness? No.)
2: Dontrelle Willis: D-Train scares me a little bit. He's coming off a really down season where he might have been pitching through an injury. He's still young but he has thrown a ton of innings in his career and people who know a hell of a lot more about baseball than me have been counting down the days until his herky-jerky delivery causes his arm to detach at the elbow. Also, Ozzie Guillen compared an appearance Dontrelle had against the White Sox last season to "facing Jamie Moyer without the changeup." Umm...if you take away Jamie Moyer's changeup you essentially have me or you pitching and I don't think I could get a major league hitter out even if he played for the White Sox. I'm holding out hope that Dontrelle will have a bounce back season just for the fact that he should be rejuvenated mentally by pitching for a contender in front of more than the 500 fans and 60,000 neon orange seats he was pitching in front of down in Miami. If I had to rate how worried I was about Dontrelle right at this moment it would rank about 50,000 spots behind the wet fart I just had that smells too much like Big John's to be anything but diarrhea. I must add that the one thing I'm most excited about with Dontrelle is the fact that he looks EXACTLY like my friend T.J.. The only difference is instead of being a 6'4 athletic major league league pitcher, T.J. is a 5'10 overweight, white, retail worker who has logged more than 900 hours on his Pokemon DS game, sweats profusely and had to get off the phone with me a couple of days because he was out of breath from eating too much Jell-O. I swear I'm not making that last sentence up. Despite these glaring differences they do look identical in the face. In fact I think I just came up with the idea for a sequel to Twins but I don't think the general public is ready for something like that......yet.
Later I'll take a look at what the Tigers gave up to acquire these two namely Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin, make sure to look out for that sometime between now and spring training '09