While the Boston Red Sox appeared to be closing in on Johan Santana, an even bigger trade emerged Tuesday at the winter meetings: The Detroit Tigers reached a preliminary agreement to acquire Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis from the Florida Marlins for a package of six players.
Florida would get left-hander Andrew Miller, outfielder Cameron Maybin and four other prospects, a baseball official with knowledge of the talks said on condition of anonymity because the deal had not yet been finalized.
The players involved must pass physicals for the deal to be completed.
“If it does happen, obviously they’re getting two very good players,” said Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who managed the Marlins in 2006. “Miguel Cabrera is one of the finest hitters in the game. He can do so many things with a bat, whether you want him to hit a home run for you, you want to hit and run, work the count, get on base. And Dontrelle Willis has been one of the premier lefties in the National League.”
Boston, meanwhile, was focused on Santana, the Minnesota Twins’ two-time Cy Young Award winner. Finding the price too high, the Yankees ended their efforts to acquire the 28-year-old left-hander.
Yankees senior vice president Hank Steinbrenner had set a Monday deadline for an agreement with the Twins.
“A deadline is a deadline, It was pretty much done as of this morning,” he said. “He’s a fine pitcher, but there’s a lot of things that go into this. This isn’t fantasy baseball.”
Boston had offered the Twins packages built either around pitcher Jon Lester or outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, but not both.
New York had proposed pitcher Phil Hughes and center fielder Melky Cabrera. The Twins dropped their demand that pitcher Ian Kennedy be included, but the sides couldn’t agree on a third player.
“To tell you the truth, toward the end, Minnesota negotiated in good faith. They really did,” Steinbrenner said. “I have no problem with them.”
Twins general manager Bill Smith wouldn’t discuss the talks in specific. He also refused to get into whether he was upset with Steinbrenner’s repeated public comments about negotiations. When asked about Steinbrenner, Smith responded with praise for Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.
“I have the greatest respect for Brian Cashman. He’s a gentleman. He’s a classy professional in this game,” Smith said. “I don’t have any problems with the Yankees. They’ve been good to the Twins. They’ve been good to the Twins for a lot of years.”