Monday, November 16, 2009

Miguel Cabrera to the Red Sox? Nonsense.

Does it make sense for the Tigers to trade Miguel Cabrera? Ken Rosenthal thinks so:
"If the Red Sox were willing to offer first baseman Mark Teixeira $170 million for eight years last off-season, why wouldn't they be willing to absorb most or all of the $126 million that Cabrera is guaranteed over the next six years?

I've even got a possible trade in mind — Cabrera for Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, third baseman Mike Lowell and a prospect, either first baseman Lars Anderson or right-hander Stolmy Pimentel.

Lowell, who would need to move to first or become a DH, is not an ideal fit. But his salary would be part of the price of doing business, just as it was when the Red Sox acquired him along with pitcher Josh Beckett from the Marlins in Nov. 2005.

If one year of Lowell at $12 million didn't help the Tigers, two of Papelbon for $20-plus million in arbitration at least would give them one of the game's best closers short-term. Anderson could be the long-term answer at first if he rebounds from a disappointing 2009, while Pimentel is one of the Sox's top pitching prospects. And the financial relief — oh boy."
Oh boy is right.

Where do we begin with this one? I'm a huge fan of Ken Rosenthal, but I think this trade has far too many holes to ever be considered realistic and lacks practical economic logic.

For starters, yes, the Tigers are having issues with their payroll right now. the economy sucks. But next season, the Tigers will have more than $40 million coming off the books and they will be in a much better position financially. Just because the Tigers are strapped for economic flexibility this winter, that doesn't mean that the Tigers should go out and trade their franchise cornerstone.

Also, this trade DOES NOT increase the Tigers' payroll flexibility this offseason. In fact, the Tigers might actually be ADDING payroll in 2010 if Papelbon's arbitration number exceeds $8 million. Between Lowell and Papelbon, the Tigers would be paying around $20 million (and probably more!) in 2010, while Cabrera will be earning $20 million. And as I mentioned before, the Tigers will be getting a massive amount of payroll of their books next season, so why should they sacrifice their best player for a minuscule (in baseball terms) amount of salary relief in 2010?

So in short, Rosenthal suggests that the Tigers trade their best player to the Red Sox because of short term salary problems, but the deal will only help the Tigers payroll situation in 2010, when the Tigers will already be removing lots of money from their payroll.

Yup, totally logical.

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