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.