Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera turned some heads in 2009 when he swiped 22 bases and posted a .255 batting average and .342 on-base percentage as a 22-year-old rookie. He failed to make any sort of improvement last season, however, and finished the 2010 campaign with an absolutely brutal .208/.279/.278 batting line.
The Padres spun a trade with the Rays for Jason Bartlett this winter and plan to start the more offensive-minded shortstop on most days and nights this season. Orlando Hudson was also brought in as a free agent to play second base.
Cabrera is no longer guaranteed a big league roster spot. And even if he makes the team, it will only be as a backup middle infielder. He needs to have a good showing this spring.
For what it’s worth, he has already put on quite a show this winter.
According to Jesse Sanchez, who is covering the Caribbean Series for MLB.com, Cabrera hit .301 with eight stolen bases over 83 at-bats for Mexico’s Obregon Yaquis this offseason and is now helping the club compete against teams from Venezuela, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic in the playoffs. A team from Mexico has won the Caribbean Series only five times since 1970.
The level of competition is a bit different and Cabrera still has miles of proving to go, but he seems to be seeing the ball well at the moment and he may be able to ride the hot streak into Cactus League play.
Not a surprise, but a news item on a slow news day is a news item on a slow news day: Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo has named Zack Greinke as the club’s Opening Day starter.
Greinke’s first season with the Diamondbacks is not exactly what the club hoped for when he signed a six-year, $206.5 million deal in December of 2015. He dealt with oblique and shoulder issues while struggling to a 4.37 ERA over 26 starts. Greinke hasn’t pitched yet this spring, but will make his spring debut on Friday. He and the club are obviously hoping for a quiet March and a strong beginning to the season.
Either for its own sake or to increase the trade value of a player who was acquired by the previous front office regime.
A new website has launched. It’s called “La Vida Baseball,” and it’s all about celebrating the past, present and future of Latino baseball from a Latino perspective.
The site, produced in partnership with the Hall of Fame, has four general areas of focus:
- Who’s Now: Focusing on current Latino players;
- Who’s Next: Focusing on top prospects here, in the Caribbean and in Central and South America;
- Our Life: Off-the-Field stuff, including player’s lives, lifestyles and hobbies; and
- Our Legends: Focusing on Latino baseball history, Hall of Famers and overlooked players.
As the site has just launched there aren’t yet a ton of stories up there, but there is one about Roberto Clemente, another about Felix Hernandez and some other stuff.
The site is much-needed. Baseball reporters for American outlets are overwhelmingly white, non-Spanish speakers. Reporters, who, generally, gravitate to the players who are the most like they are. Which is understandable on some level. When you’re writing stories about people you need to be able to communicate with them and relate to them on more than a mere perfunctory level. As such, no matter how good the intentions of baseball media, we tend to see the clubhouse and the culture of baseball from a distinctly American perspective. And we tend to paint Latino players with a broad, broad brush.
La Vida Baseball will, hopefully, remedy all of that and will, hopefully, give us a fresh and insightful depiction Latino players and their culture.