UPDATE: Orlando Cabrera to compete for the Indians’ second base job

10 Comments

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 PMJon 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.

Odubel Herrera flips his bat on a fly ball, gets benched for lack of hustle

Getty Images
7 Comments

Phillies outfielder Odubel Herrera has been a polarizing figure in his young career. He’s talented and at times has shined, inspiring the Phillies to give him a long term contract this past offseason. At other times, however, he’s aggravated the snot out of his manager, his teammates and his team’s fans. Last night, in the Phillies-Astros game, he did the latter and was the subject of mockery of the opposing team to boot.

In the first inning he hit a long fly ball to center. He thought it was going out but . . . it didn’t. When the ball came off of his bat, however, he flipped his bat like he went yard. You know our view about bat flips — who cares? Flip away! — but you flip at your own risk. Just because you’re allowed to flip it whenever you want doesn’t mean you’re not gonna get mocked if you flip prematurely. That’s what Herrera did, and he was mocked for the flip by the Astros from the dugout:

If that was all that happened in the game, life would go on just fine. I mean, it’s just a bat flip. But later in the game he committed a more substantive transgression: he failed to hustle in a hustle situation.

In the sixth inning Herrera struck out swinging on a 1-2 curveball. The catcher didn’t hold on to it, though, and the ball went in the dirt. Herrera didn’t bother to run to first base and Pete Mackanin pulled Herrera from the game in a double switch right after that. Asked if Herrera was benched for not running that ball out, Mackanin said “It had something to do with it . . . I’m going to talk to him tomorrow.”

If you’re a veteran and you have hamstring issues or something you can take a dropped strike three off and no one is gonna say anything. If you’re hitting like Herrera has been hitting of late (i.e. pretty well) and you otherwise have no issues with your manager along these lines, it’s doubtful anyone will hold that sort of play against you either as long as it’s an isolated incident.

Herrera is not in that position, however. He’s raised Mackanin’s ire in the past for ignoring signs and taking what Mackanin believed to be a lackadaisical approach to the game. Whether that’s a fair assessment of Herrera or not — we can’t fully know everything about their interaction from the outside — is sort of beside the point. He has to know by now that Mackanin is going to get after him for that stuff and he has to know that him not being in the game is neither good for the Phillies or for Herrera.

Are these growing pains or a signs of a growing problem? That, it would seem, is up to Odubel Herrera.

Video: Minor leaguer bounces a home run off of an outfielder’s head

Getty Images
5 Comments

Jose Canseco hit 462 homers, was the 1986 Rookie of the Year, the 1988 MVP and played for 17 years in the big leagues, winning two World Series rings and making the playoffs five times. Yet he’s not remembered for any of that. At least not very often.

No, he’s remembered for his ignominy. For his role in participating in and, subsequently, exposing baseball’s PED-fueled world of the 1990s. For his continued insistence that he was blackballed by Major League Baseball and his continued attempts to play via the independent league route. For his crazy post-playing career antics in which he spent a few years tweeting about aliens, conspiracy theories and non-sequiturs of every stripe.

Mostly, though, people remember Canseco for one random play: the time he helped the Indians’ Carlos Martinez to a home run when a fly ball bounced off of Canseco’s head and over the wall back in 1993:

 

Well, Canseco now has a friend in infamy. That friend: Zach Borenstein of the Reno Aces, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Triple-A affiliate. Yesterday Borenstein pulled a Canseco on what should’ve been an Alex Verdugo F-9:

Borenstein’s glove may have gotten a piece of that — the announcer seemed to think so anyway — and I have a hard time figuring that his head would give it that much bounce. I mean, look how far he was from the wall! He wasn’t even to the warning track. That’s a serious assist.

Still: gonna rule this a Canseco anyway. It’s too good not to.