Great Moments in the Hot Stove League: When the Yankees passed on Miguel Cabrera

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I saw this floating around Twitter over the past several days It’s loads of fun. From the New York Daily News in November 2007, talking about the Yankees and Marlins and a trade for Miguel Cabrera that never happened:

Brian Cashman met with the Marlins at about 6 p.m. last night at the GM meetings. No offers were made, but a source with knowledge of the situation said the Marlins made it clear that the Yankees would have to include either Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain or Ian Kennedy in any trade for Cabrera, something the Yankees are not willing to do. The Yankees would likely offer a deal involving their next tier of prospects, which includes Alan Horne, Humberto Sanchez, Ross Ohlendorf and Jose Tabata.

This came right after Alex Rodriguez opted-out of his $250 million deal and was a free agent. The Yankees, of course, signed him to his current $275 million deal a little over a month later.  In the meantime, they could have traded off, say, Joba Chamberlain for the current two-time MVP and could have let Rodriguez dangle.

That sounds awesome now. But at the time people thought Chamberlain, Hughes and Kennedy were the cat’s meow. And Miguel Cabrera, while clearly a huge talent, wasn’t quite what he is now in most people’s minds. And of course Alex Rodriguez was the best player in the game who, two short years later, would lead the Yankees to their last World Series title.

So, yes, it stings now. But at the time it wasn’t a crazy line of reasoning on Cashman’s part. And while people say hindsight is 20/20, in reality, it’s not. Hindsight obscures a lot of stuff we knew back then — or at least thought we knew back then — but have since forgotten.

If the Tigers are sub-.500 at the end of June it’ll be fire sale time

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Jon Morosi reports that that the Detroit Tigers will make all veterans available via trade if they’re still under .500 by the end of June.

This was the position they entered the offseason with — everyone is available! — but they ended up gearing up for one more push with the core of veterans they currently employ. It was not a bad move, I don’t think. With the exception of the Indians, the AL Central is mostly down, or at least appeared to be over the winter, with the Royals in decline and the Twins and White Sox seemingly a few years away from contention. The Twins, however, have been fantastic and the Tigers have mostly underachieved.

So we’re back to this. Which veterans the Tigers can reasonably unload, however, is an open question. J.D. Martinez is in his walk year, so while tradable, he may not bring back a big return. Guys like Justin Upton, Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera either have very large contracts or no-trade protection.

The end of June is still a while from now, of course, and while the Tigers are under .500, they’re only 4.5 games behind the Twins. But they had better turn it around or else it sounds like the front office is going to turn the page.

Must-Click Link: Remembering Eddie Grant the first major leaguer to die in combat

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As you get ready for Memorial Day weekend and whatever it entails for you and yours, take some time to read an excellent article from Mike Bates over at The Hardball Times.

The article is about Eddie Grant. You probably never heard of him. He was a journeyman infielder — often a backup — from 1905 through 1915. If you have heard of him, it was likely not for his baseball exploits, however: it was because he was the first active baseball player to die in combat, killed in the Battle of the Argonne Forest in October 1915.

Michael tells us about more than Grant’s death, however. He provides a great overview of his life and career. And notes that Grant didn’t even have to go to war if he didn’t want to. He was 34, had the chance to coach or manage and had a law degree and the potential to make a lot of money following his baseball career. He volunteered, however, for both patriotic and personal reasons. And it cost him his life.

Must-read stuff indeed. Especially this weekend.