A Major League source said on Tuesday that the Tigers are inquiring about Cabrera. In fact, Detroit has approached Florida regarding Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported that the Tigers are interested in a package deal that would involve both Cabrera and Willis.
A source told MLB.com that the Tigers are interested in either/or, not necessarily both. It is considered doubtful that there will be enough in return for the Marlins to swing such a mega-deal.
Interest in Cabrera has heated up at the annual Winter Meetings. On Monday, there were five teams interested in the 24-year-old slugger, who is coming off a .320 season with 34 home runs and 119 RBIs.
The White Sox also have had talks with the Marlins centering on Cabrera.
Cabrera is a close friend of Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen, who was Florida's third-base coach in 2002-03. Asked on Tuesday where Guillen would play Cabrera, the manager said, "We'd find a place for him, if we could get him."
A third baseman the past two seasons, Cabrera could be a candidate to move to left field in a place like Chicago. When Cabrera was called up by the Marlins in June 2003, he was used in left field. The Marlins kept Cabrera in the outfield, with a brief stint in right field, until 2006.
Some players the Tigers could be willing to part with for Cabrera and/or Willis are outfielder Cameron Maybin and left-hander Andrew Miller.
The Angels and Dodgers also have had numerous discussions with the Marlins regarding Cabrera.
While the Marlins have been leaning toward keeping Willis, at least until the July 31 trade deadline, it is believed that at least three teams have interest in the 25-year-old left-hander.
One source said eventually the Mets are expected to make a push for Willis.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.