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Tigers pull off a big one

LHP Johan Santana was officially still a Twin on Tuesday night, but 3B Miguel Cabrera and LHP Dontrelle Willis were apparently headed from Florida to Detroit in a blockbuster deal.

By MARC TOPKIN
Published December 5, 2007


NASHVILLE - LHP Johan Santana was officially still a Twin on Tuesday night, but 3B Miguel Cabrera and LHP Dontrelle Willis were apparently headed from Florida to Detroit in a blockbuster deal.

The teams reached what was reported as an agreement in principle to an eight-player deal, with Florida getting key prospects OF Cameron Maybin, LHP Andrew Miller and C Mike Rabelo (of Ridgewood High and the University of Tampa) plus three minor-league pitchers (Eulogio De La Cruz, Dallas Trahern, Burke Badenhop).

The deal, which would give Detroit a power-packed lineup and deep rotation, was expected to be announced late Tuesday or this morning pending a review of medical records. "It's very serious, but nothing is finalized yet because some issues need to get worked out," Tigers manager Jim Leyland told the Associated Press.

Santana seemed more likely headed to Boston (in a multiplayer deal featuring Jacoby Ellsbury or Jon Lester), or maybe the Angels. Talks reportedly broke off with the Yankees.

RAYS REPORT: Free agent Rob Mackowiak is a candidate for a super-utility job. Mackowiak, 31, spent last season with the White Sox and Padres, has a career .262 average with some power and can play the outfield plus first, second and third. ... Executive VP Andrew Friedman said the team continued to explore trade and free-agent options to find a left-handed hitter, but nothing was imminent. It's a long shot, but the Reds are making available ex-Rays OF Josh Hamilton. ... Manager Joe Maddon wants to give Jonny Gomes a chance for ample playing time in rightfield and indicated Rocco Baldelli, if healthy, would spend more time at DH. The Rays probably won't know until mid March how much they can count on Baldelli. ... Maddon reiterated that Akinori Iwamura is likely to open the season at second whether or not prospect Evan Longoria is ready to take over at third.

PRICE CHECK: Rays top draft pick LHP David Price, honored Tuesday as Baseball America's college player of the year, said he is eager to start his pro career and hoped to be in the majors by July. "I'm ready to get started," he said. The Rays won't set a timetable for his arrival but Maddon said, "I've heard it's possible within this next year."

MISCELLANY: Orioles LHP Erik Bedard (Mets, Dodgers, Blue Jays) and A's RHP Dan Haren (D'backs, Dodgers, Mets) were popular topics of conversation. ... Mitchell High product RHP Tyler Clippard was traded from the Yankees to the Nationals. ... The Lou Piniella-managed Cubs are among teams interested in Hamilton. ... The Royals agreed to a three-year, $36-million deal with OF Jose Guillen and may still pursue CF Andruw Jones. ... The Braves got LH reliever Will Ohman and utility INF Omar Infante from the Cubs for prospect RHP Jose Ascanio. ... Padres RHP Jake Peavy got a three-year, $52-million extension. ... Detroit sent RHP Denny Bautista to Colorado for RHP Jose Capellan.