There were two big names on the trading block coming into the winter meetings, two names that figured to clog up the works for all other deals: Johan Santana of the Twins and Miguel Cabrera of the Marlins.



Now there is one. The Marlins shipped Cabrera — and Dontrelle Willis — to the Detroit Tigers for a six-player package that included the Tigers' top hitting prospect and top pitching prospect.



The idea of Detroit trading Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller is shocking. The Tigers have now, between this trade and an earlier one with the Braves for shortstop Edgar Renteria, traded away six of their top eight prospects entering the 2007 season (using Baseball America's list). They are definitely in "win now" mode, because they've essentially emptied their farm system.



The lineup is now scary strong. Jacque Jones is the weakest hitter in the lineup. The rotation is proven and quite left-handed, which matches up well with both Cleveland and the Twins.



And yet they still have a real problem in their bullpen. Todd Jones is not the most impressive closer in the league, and Joel Zumaya's future is in doubt after a severe shoulder injury. They are, however, likely to use some of their now redundant pieces — such as Marcus Thames and Brandon Inge — as trade bait for bullpen help.



The effect on the Twins is twofold: First, it becomes that much more difficult to imagine the team as now constituted — even with Johan Santana — winning the division.



Second, it frees up some organizations that had been more focused on Cabrera to turn their attention to Santana. Most notably, the Angels. There were reports Tuesday afternoon that Anaheim was dickering with the Twins; the Angels denied it. We shall see.



e-mail Edward Thoma

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