The Indians are definitely doing more adding than subtracting at the moment, but they’ve decided Orlando Cabrera is expendable and they traded him to the Giants for outfielder Thomas Neal.
Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com and Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle had the initial reports.
Cabrera had hit just .244/.277/.321 while serving as the Indians’ primary second baseman for most of the first four months. He had recently lost time to rookie Jason Kipnis, and he figured to see his role scaled back further. With Cabrera out of the picture, the Indians could bring back either Cord Phelps or Luis Valbuena from the minors.
The Giants will likely shift Cabrera back to his natural position of shortstop. He probably won’t be an everyday guy, but he should be able to help out, particularly against lefties in a job share with Mike Fontenot. One wonders if Miguel Tejada will be released to make room for him.
Neal, 23, is a fringe prospect. He had a big year at Single-A San Jose in 2009, but he posted a .799 OPS in Double-A in 2010 and a .761 mark in the PCL so far this year. He projects as a fourth outfielder at best in the majors, and he probably won’t make a significant contribution this year.
The Cardinals have selected right-hander Miles Mikolas as their Opening Day starter, the club revealed Saturday. It’ll mark the first career Opening Day start for Mikolas, who is scheduled to go up against the Brewers when the team hits the road on March 28.
The 29-year-old righty was a strong contender for the 2018 NL Cy Young Award, earning All-Star distinctions and pitching to a career-best 18-4 record with a 2.83 ERA, 1.3 BB/9, 6.5 SO/9, and 4.3 fWAR over 200 2/3 innings. He’s positioned to lead the Cardinals rotation in 2019 as well, with former Opening Day starters Carlos Martínez and Adam Wainwright and some combination of right-handers Jack Flaherty, Michael Wacha, Alex Reyes, and John Gant behind him.
Manager Mike Shildt told reporters that Flaherty, Wacha, Wainwright, and Martínez had all been considered for the honor, but admitted that Opening Day honors were ultimately handed to Mikolas “in recognition of [his performance] last year.” The Cardinals are scheduled to play a four-game set against the Brewers to start the season and will stop over in Pittsburgh for another two games before returning to St. Louis for their opening homestand against the Padres on April 4. Additional pitching assignments have yet to be announced.