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More on Cabrera and Willis

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It is really not anything new, but I guess it should be reported.

Queries regarding Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis once answered with a "not available" will receive a different response this week.

During the general managers' meetings in Orlando, the Marlins will make it known either player can be had in the right deal.

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That doesn't mean one or both players will be employed elsewhere before Christmas.

The need to at least consider trading Willis and Cabrera is twofold. They should earn no less than a combined $19 million next season on a club whose payroll isn't likely to exceed $35 million.

From a pure baseball standpoint, moving their two remaining links to the 2003 World Series champions is the quickest way to address starting pitching and defensive holes without a significant payroll hike.

From a purely baseball standpoint, trading Cabrera, especially, or trading Willis doesn't make that much sense.  Yes, the Marlins need a center fielder and more catching help would be desirable and you can never have enough pitching.  However, the Marlins pitching woes aren't because the team doesn't possess talent, it's just that most of that talent is injured or isn't big league ready.

The fielding is another matter, most of the players are fairly young and obviously spent more time in the batting cage than at fielding practice, but that doesn't mean they can't get better.

No, if the two are traded it will simply be to reduce payroll.  What concerns me about this posturing is that if they unload salary is they don't think a stadium deal is going happen in South Florida.

Sometime in the middle of 2008, the team will hit the point of no return should Huizenga hold to his statement that 2011 is the last season the Marlins will play in JRS.  Both Cabrera and Willis will be free agents after the 2009 season and with the low revenue stream, relative to other clubs, if the Marlins perceive that lasting for a number of years past 2011 the trading of the two will be an indicator.

I sincerely hope I am reading too much into this and I probably am.  But something about this doesn't feel right.