Saturday, February 12, 2011

Taking the O-Cab to Cleveland

Orlando Cabrera was the regular
shortstop for Cincinnati in 2010,
and the Reds won a surprising
division title. Coincidence?
Orlando Cabrera, the shortstop whose late-career wandering brought him through Minnesota for a couple of months, has agreed to a contract with the Cleveland Indians.

This will make six teams in five seasons for Cabrera. It is unlikely, however, that he'll make the playoffs at this stop, which is something he's done in six of the last seven years.

Fairly or not, that kind of thing gets a player a reputation as a "winner." I don't know that Cabrera actually adds more to a team than his stats indicate, but a couple of his playoff teams didn't figure to be contenders when he got there.

I take note of his signing for the following reasons:

  • Cleveland apparently has it in mind to make him a second baseman, which makes sense given that incumbent shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera is younger and more athletic than the 36-year-old Orlando Cabrera.
  • The elder Cabrera isn't going to be in anybody's long term plans, much less those of a rebuilding team such as Cleveland. They'll look to flip him in mid season (which will give him a chance to make is seven of eight).
  • Ron Gardenhire liked Cabrera in 2009.
  • The Twins are, let us say, fluid in their middle infield entering spring training. 

The overriding theme of the Twins offseason has been the pursuit of long-term options. They're making a deliberate effort to get away from the one-year or two-month patch in the infield, they're rebuilding their bullpen out of a flock of inexperienced arms.

Come August, if the young infielders are wilting in the summer heat and pennant race stress, the long-term will be a lesser consideration. The Twins might be interested in hailing the O-Cab once more.

Let us hope it doesn't come to that.

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