Florida will probably seek a package of three young players, including at least one or two top-tier talents for Cabrera, 24, who is eligible for free agency after the 2009 season.
The cost-conscious Marlins, whose payroll was below $30 million in 2007, don't want to dedicate too much of their budget to one player. Cabrera's salary is expected to rise from $7.4 million to about $12 million through salary arbitration.
The big question is just exactly what the Marlins would want for him.
"My sense is that it might be too much but we'll see. It's early," said Hank Steinbrenner, son of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.
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 winner. He went 10-15 with a 5.17 ERA last season, diminishing his value. He made $6.5 million.
White Sox third baseman Joe Crede could also be available in the right deal, indicated Chicago general manager Ken Williams. The Yankees, who lost Alex Rodriguez when he opted out of his contract and became a free agent, could get involved in talks for Crede, as well as for Cabrera.
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.
"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."