It’s hard to believe that professional baseball in the city of Detroit could be generating enough income to take on what will be a $120–130 million payroll in 2008, but there's no doubt that the additions of Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera will give the Tigers a much-needed boost in the AL Central
Willis and Cabrera both joined the Florida Marlins at the beginning of the 2003 season, and played crucial roles as rookies on an All-Star laden team that won the World Series.
They'll have a good opportunity to do the same when they both become rookies again in Detroit this April.
Cabrera will be added to a list of sluggers that already includes Magglio Ordonez, Gary Sheffield, Carlos Guillen, and Edgar Renteria.
The addition of Jacque Jones this offseason should also help make the Tigers' offense one of the most dangerous in baseball.
On the mound, Willis has put up less-than-stellar numbers the past two seasons—but that may be due in part to the dismantling of the team around him.
Expect the lefty to be reinvigorated by the opportunity to be a big-game pitcher in what should prove to be an exciting American League pennant race.
The Marlins, meanwhile, have been reconstructing their organization since they won the Series in 2003. By acquiring six young prospects from the Tigers—and dumping two big salaries—the team seems to be heading in the right direction.
In 2008, the Marlins' average player salary will be under $500,000. Given their recent struggles, it's clear that spending money isn't the answer—and working from the ground up with young talent may be the best way to proceed.
The Marlins should drop further from contention in the NL East in the immediate future, but look for the team to rebound strong down the road.