Marlins may look to deal third baseman Cabrera for prospects

Updated: November 7, 2007, 12:37 PM ET
Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Miguel Cabrera was the big name being bandied about Tuesday as baseball general managers waited to hear what the Florida Marlins would want for their young slugger.

On a day when GMs voted to recommend the limited use of instant replay, the action started to percolate on players. Particularly third basemen.

Chicago White Sox general manager Ken Williams acknowledged he was listening to offers for Joe Crede. The New York Yankees, who lost Alex Rodriguez when he opted out of his contract and became a free agent, could get involved in talks for both Cabrera and Crede.

Cabrera, a four-time All-Star, made $7.4 million this year after winning in salary arbitration and is likely to make more than $10 million next year, more than the budget-conscious Marlins want to pay. Two years ago, Florida traded many of its top players and got several top prospects. Teams were waiting to find out which prospects the Marlins would want for Cabrera, their 24-year-old third baseman.

"We don't know yet. We'll probably know by tonight," said Hank Steinbrenner, son of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. "My sense is that it might be too much but we'll see. It's early."

Cabrera batted .320 with 34 homers and 119 RBIs, but he has put on weight, a cause of concern to the Marlins and teams that might want to acquire him.

Florida appears less eager to trade Dontrelle Willis, the 2003 NL Rookie of the Year Award winner. He went 10-15 with a 5.17 ERA last season, diminishing his value. He made $6.5 million.

"Good players are always in need, that's for sure. I'm not talking specifically about Cabrera or Willis or Dan Uggla or [Hanley] Ramirez," Florida president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said, mentioning many top Marlins. "When you trade really good players, you want really good players in return. You want talent for talent."

Crede had back surgery, played in only 47 games and was supplanted by rookie Josh Fields.

"We have two third basemen. There's interest across the league in both of them," Williams said.

Right now, Yankees GM Brian Cashman's top third baseman is Wilson Betemit, and he is seeking an upgrade.

"Our profile typically would involve power, but it might not necessarily come from the available market," he said.

While the Yankees have top young pitchers such as Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy, Cashman is reluctant to part with them.

"I think our farm system has taken the right steps forward. There's power in numbers," he said. "We'll soak up all the information down here and then we'll take it back to New York and kind of assess what the real potential market is for us."

While the Marlins explore the market for Cabrera, the Minnesota Twins want to hold onto pitcher Johan Santana, who is eligible for free agency after next season.

"We'll certainly talk. We're going to do the best we can to re-sign him," new GM Bill Smith said. "If we can't, then we'll move on. He's still one of the best pitchers in the game."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press