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Sunday, January 31, 2010
Down to two suitors, Orlando Cabrera chose the Cincinnati Reds offer of one-year and $4 million dollars ($3 million base + $1 million buyout) with an option for a second year over non-shortstop offer the Colorado Rockies had on the table. Cabrera, 35, will join his fifth team in the last four seasons. He will team with Paul Janish at the position once held by Barry Larkin.
Once a perennial 3 WAR player, O-Cab was worth less than win this past sesaon as his watched his range (and in turn his UZR) plummet. The Reds are hoping that his -15.3 UZR in 2009 was an outlier after averaging above average marks over the previous seven seasons. I would normally agree with this theory, but he is pretty long in the tooth at the short stop position and I've heard a knee injury may have been involved.
Offensively, Cabrera has been below average over the course of his career. Sure, he’ll hit between .275-.290 on an annual basis, but that’s pretty much the extent of his offensive value. He walks under 7% of the time and his career slugging percentage is under .400. Playing in the Great American Sandbox will help, however it probably won’t boost his .123 ISO enough to make him a power threat at shortstop. He was never much of a stolen base threat to begin with, and has seen his steals decline from 20 to 19 to 13 over the past three seasons.
That said, if you look at his main competition, Paul Janish, Cabrera’s offensive numbers look like Hanley Ramirez in comparison. Small sample size rules apply, but Janish has a career slash line of just .205/.290/.292 in 128 career games. Looking at his minor league numbers, Janish hasn’t posted an OPS over .715 in any level above A-ball. In nearly 600 innings at shortstop last season, he did prove to be a very good defensive player. Personally, I would like to see Drew Sutton given a real chance, but I don't get paid enough to make those decisions.
The Reds will have to choose between Cabrera’s nearly average bat and Janish’s nearly pitcher-like slash line. Janish is probably a safer bet defensively, but a larger sample size is needed. If at all possible I would avoid both players on my team; however, Cabrera might be worth a flier in a deep NL-only league.
Posted by Tommy Rancel at 6:10pm
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