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

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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.

Royals sign Michael Saunders to a minor-league deal

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Free agent outfielder Michael Saunders has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals, the team announced Friday. While the move comes just two days after Saunders agreed to terms with the Pirates, he allegedly asked for his release after the club acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a multi-player swap with the Rays on Thursday. MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan adds that Saunders will make $1.5 million upon reaching the majors, with a potential $500,000 in bonuses.

After earning his first spot on an All-Star team in 2016, Saunders followed up a solid campaign with a career-worst performance in 2017. The 31-year-old split the season between the Phillies and Blue Jays’ camps, batting a combined .202/.256/.344 with six home runs and -0.7 fWAR in 234 plate appearances. Although he remained healthy throughout the year, with no sign of the lingering hamstring strain that has plagued him on and off since 2013, he wasn’t productive enough to merit a full-time role on either roster.

With Dickerson slated for a starting role in Pittsburgh, it was unlikely that Saunders would have commanded anything other than a backup role in 2018. Now, however, he’ll compete for playing time amid a slew of outfield options, including Alex Gordon, Cody Asche, Jorge Bonifacio, Tyler Collins and Paulo Orlando.