Cabrera signed an amateur free-agent contract with Florida in 1999. Making his way up the food chain through the minors. He hit .365 with the AA Carolina MudCats in the first half of 2003, becoming impossible for the Marlins to justify "further seasoning"
He received his first, and so far only call-up in June, posting a .268 average with 12 home runs and 62 RBI in 87 games. His efforts were noticed by the voters in the end of the season Rookie of the Year balloting, as Cabrera finished fifth behind teammate Dontrelle Willis. Following the season, Cabrera hit .265 with four home runs and 12 RBI for Florida on their way to their second World Series title.
Cabrera is skilled in three defensive positions, and he was used substantially at third base and left field throughout his Marlins career.
In 2004, Cabrera played in160 games, hitting .294 with 33 home runs and 112 RBI, making his first All-Star game. 2005 was more of the same, as he again hit 33 home runs, improving his RBI total to 116 and his average to a robust .323, good for third in the National League. He again made the All-Star team, and also took home his first Silver Slugger award.
2006 saw Cabrera finish second in the NL batting average race with a .339. He also hit 26 home runs and 114 RBI, making his third All-Star team and winning his second Silver Slugger award.
In 2007 Cabrera made his fourth consecutive all-star team as a Marlin, hitting .320 with then career bests, 34 home runs and 119 RBI. Following the season, he was traded along with Dontrelle Wills to the Detroit Tigers for Dallas Trahern, Burke Badenhop, Eulogio De La Cruz, Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller and Mike Rabelo.
Cabrera never hit less than 26 home runs or 112 RBI during his tenure with the Marlins. In 720 games over five seasons, Cabrera hit .313 with 138 home runs and 523 RBI. He has since met similar success with the Detroit Tigers starting in 2008.