Trade analysis: Cabrera to Twins

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Twins acquire shortstop Orlando Cabrera from the Athletics in exchange for minor-league infielder Tyler Ladendorf.

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Looking to shore up their middle infield, the Twins were also connected
to second baseman Freddy Sanchez, but considering that the Giants gave
up former first-round pick Tim Alderson to land him, this is a bargain
by comparison, especially with the Athletics kicking in some cash.
Cabrera, now 34, appears to have lost a step defensively this year
(-7.9 UZR and 14 errors), but when your shortstop options have combined
for a pathetic .241/.303/.330 line, who cares, really.

Cabrera got off to an awful start with the Athletics, and through
June he had a positively lousy .247/.290/.316 line. But he has been
unconscious in July, batting .373/.400/.500 with two homers, 16 RBI and
nine stolen bases. As I mentioned earlier, he leads the majors with 41
hits this month. The Twins have landed a proven veteran with
post-season experience. He’ll do just fine.

As for Ladendorf, he was the Twins second-round pick in 2008. The
21-year-old shortstop batted .410/.500/.721 with four homers and 17 RBI
in rookie ball, but has struggled since being promoted to Single-A
Beloit.
The important thing for Atheltics’ fans to know is that Cliff
Pennington is on his way to Oakland. In the end, Billy Beane did well
to get something for Cabrera, knowing that they couldn’t get any
compensation for him over the winter.

Brandon McCarthy wins final spot in Dodgers’ rotation

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We learned on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu won one of the final two spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Brandon McCarthy has won the other, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Alex Wood was McCarthy’s competitor for the spot.

McCarthy, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA across four appearances spanning 13 innings this spring, yielding seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Wood, a southpaw, gave up five earned runs in six innings against the Reds on Tuesday, which might have factored into the decision.

Last season, McCarthy made nine starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.95 ERA with a 44/26 K/BB ratio in 40 innings. In the event McCarthy falters, the club has Wood as well as Julio Urias and the injured Scott Kazmir as potential replacements.

Yankees re-sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

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The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.

Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.

Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.