New York Yankees: Going with Alex Rodriguez over Miguel Cabrera in '07 Was Wrong

Doug Rush@Doug_RushSenior Analyst IOctober 17, 2012

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 16:  Miguel Cabrera #24 of the Detroit Tigers celebrates after the Tigers won 2-1 against the New York Yankees during game three of the American League Championship Series at Comerica Park on October 16, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

I always like to do the "what if" game.

Like, what if the Portland Trail Blazers had drafted Michael Jordan instead of Sam Bowie in the 1984 NBA Draft? The Chicago Bulls' future is a lot different.

Or, what if Drew Bledsoe had never gotten hurt in 2001 for the New England Patriots? Who knows what happens to Tom Brady.

For me, there's one I like to look back on, and I don't know if anyone else has ever done this, but we're going to go back in history.

Lets go back to the end of the 2007 season.

Oct. 28, 2007 to be exact. It was the night of Game 4 of the World Series between the Colorado Rockies and Boston Red Sox.

That night was supposed to be about how Boston was going to win their second championship in three years, but that got overshadowed in the news.

What made a World Series-clinching night play second fiddle was the news of Alex Rodriguez and his agent Scott Boras deciding to opt out of his 10-year, $252 million contract with the New York Yankees and become a free agent in the winter.

The news of this angered a lot of people around the baseball world, including many Yankee fans and members of the Yankees organization, because A-Rod did not go to them to discuss him opting out of the deal.

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Two weeks later on Nov. 15, 2007, the Yankees and A-Rod had the framework of a deal in place to lock him up for 10 years and $275 million, a deal that Boras had no part of because A-Rod personally went to the Yankees and negotiated it himself.

The Yankees are about to complete the fifth year of that deal and still have another five years left on the contract, and it's already shaping up to be one of the worst deals in Yankees history and perhaps in baseball history.

And what makes this an even worse deal is what the Yankees could have, and really, should have done that winter.

The Yankees should have made a deal with the Florida Marlins to get Miguel Cabrera, who instead was traded to the Detroit Tigers along with then-ace Dontrelle Willis on Dec. 5, 2007 for Andrew Miller, Cameron Maybin and three other prospects.

At the time of the winter of 2007, the Marlins were looking to deal away Cabrera because they had issues with his work ethic, but they also wanted a team to take on Willis in a deal as well.

So, instead of taking back A-Rod, the Yankees could have told him and Boras to take a hike, and they could have negotiated a deal to land Cabrera along with Willis.

The Yankees had the pieces to make a deal. They had Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, Joba Chamberlain, Melky Cabrera, among other prospects and players they could have given Florida in a deal to get Cabrera.

Just a couple of months after the trade between Florida and Detroit, Cabrera signed an eight-year, $185.3 million extension with the Tigers, which locked him up until the end of the 2015 season.

Just think, the Yankees could have used the money from A-Rod, and given it to Cabrera, while saving $90 million total on salary.

Since joining Detroit, Cabrera has posted five straight seasons of 30 or more home runs and 100 or more RBI while playing a minimum of 150 games

Cabrera is also likely to win the 2012 A.L. MVP Award following his Triple Crown season of 44 home runs, 139 RBI and .330 batting average.

On the flip side, since A-Rod's contract extension, he has admitted to taking steroids in the past and has seen his power numbers take a dramatic fall.

It's the risk the Yankees took of giving a then 32-year-old A-Rod a 10-year contract, which has clearly backfired in the Yankees' faces considering how awful he is, especially in October and the playoffs.

Trading for a 25-year-old and then giving him an eight-year deal would have been a much better option after the 2007 season, but Hank Steinbrenner didn't see it that way back then.

Five years later, the Yankees are paying for this mistake.

Because while Joe Girardi is benching A-Rod for his lack of hitting, Cabrera is killing the Yankees in the ALCS with his superior hitting.

Like I said earlier, it's a what if that many of us can always wonder.

And it's a what if the Yankees now have to live with going forward.


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