UPDATE: Rosenthal tweets that Cabrera will compete for the second base job. Asdrubal Cabrera will stay at short. The idea is to make Orlando Cabrera learn second.
Much better that way I think seeing as though the Indians’ second base options — Luis Valbuena and Jason Donald — don’t have Asdrubal Cabrera’s upside. And worse case scenario for Orlando Cabrera: a spring of taking fielding practice at second base will turn him into a more useful utility player. Which could help the Indians and which could possibly prolong his own career in the bigs.
2:35 PM: Jon Heyman tweets that Orlando Cabrera has signed with the Cleveland Indians.
The Indians are Orlando Cabrera’s eighth team. I know he’s been around, but I was kind of surprised to see that. Even more surprised to learn that he played for the Expos for eight years. I didn’t think there was anyone left other than Vlad Guerrero who had been in Montreal that long.
Cabrera hit .263/.303/.354 last year and lost his job to Paul Janish in Cincinnati. His OPS was the fourth-worst among all NL hitters. His defense is a shell of what it once was. Lucky for him the shortstop position is historically thin right now.
I’m not at all sure what this does for the Indians. While I argued in the Orioles post that incremental improvements with veterans aren’t bad if no one with promise is losing their job over it, I’m not sure how Cabrera is even an incremental improvement. Their other Cabrera — Asdrubal — is coming off a broken arm, but he is reported to be ready to go now and provides better defense and more promise than Orlando does. The only way this makes sense is if this is for a utility job, but Orlando Cabrera had said he wanted a start someplace.
Scratchin’ my head here.
The Reds announced on Thursday that the protective netting at Great American Ball Park will be extended to the end of each dugout in time for Opening Day next season. The press release notes that the current netting meets Major League Baseball’s guidelines and the new netting will go beyond those standards.
The netting “debate” came back on Wednesday when a young fan was struck in the face by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees have done about the bare minimum in installing protective netting, which rightly earned them criticism. Brian Dozier, Todd Frazier, and Didi Gregorius each said yesterday that the netting should be extended. Other teams and Major League Baseball in general received criticism. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, for example, said the relative lack of action on MLB’s part is “morally repugnant.”
Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer notes that the Reds had already had this idea prior to Wednesday’s incident at Yankee Stadium.
Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will become eligible for free agency after the 2018 season and is likely to get a windfall. The club, however, isn’t expected to pursue trading their star at the hot corner this offseason, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.
Machado, 25, has been one of baseball’s best players since debuting in 2012. He had a slow start to the 2017 season, seeing his OPS nearly drop below .700 in early July, but a strong second half has made his overall numbers more than respectable. Machado is batting .264/.318/.484 with 32 home runs and 92 RBI in 651 plate appearances while playing Gold Glove-caliber defense at third base.
Just because the Orioles don’t plan to move Machado this offseason doesn’t mean they won’t try to recoup some value ahead of next year’s non-waiver trade deadline. According to Heyman, a person involved with the Orioles said, “It would take us 35 years to find another player like him.”