Posted on: July 30, 2011 11:04 pm
Edited on: July 31, 2011 10:50 am
The Giants, who have been looking for small upgrades since making the big deal for Carlos Beltran, have acquired Orlando Cabrera from the Indians.
The much-traveled Cabrera became expendable in Cleveland when the Indians called up top prospect Jason Kipnis to play every day at second base. Cabrera is a shortstop by trade, but the Indians signed him to play second, alongside Asdrubal Cabrera (no relation).
The Indians got Thomas Neal, a 23-year-old Triple-A outfielder, in exchange for Orlando Cabrera.
Cabrera, who has been on playoff teams each of the last four years (in four different cities!), will likely play shortstop for the Giants. The Giants' .579 OPS at shortstop is the worst in the National League, and 29th in baseball ahead of only the Rays.
Cabrera is in the Giants' lineup at shortstop for Sunday's game in Cincinnati.
Brandon Crawford and Mike Fontenot had been sharing time at short. Crawford was optioned to Triple-A Fresno to make room on the roster for Cabrera.
Cabrera went to the playoffs with the Angels in 2007, with the White Sox in 2008, with the Twins in 2009 and with the Reds last year.
Now he's headed there again, with the Giants.
Posted on: May 2, 2011 3:57 pm
Edited on: May 2, 2011 6:33 pm
A week ago, I'll admit, I was still dismissing the Indians' hot start.
I'm still not ready to believe, but I'm getting there -- and not just because their 19-8 record is the best in the majors.
Plenty of teams play well for the first 30 games of the season, only to fade. In fact, of the last 12 teams to start a season 19-8 or better, only seven made it to the playoffs. The 2006 Reds started 19-8, and didn't even manage to finish .500.
One scout who follows the American League Central said Monday, "The best thing the White Sox and Tigers have going for them is that they're chasing the Indians and Royals."
Still, there are reasons to believe, according to scouts who have followed the Indians:
1. Grady Sizemore looks like himself again. When I did the Indians camp report in February, I wrote that the most interesting question for the Indians was "whether the Grady Sizemore of 2007-08 will return."
"He's back," one scout said. "He's moving awfully well."
2. Michael Brantley looks like Grady Sizemore, too.
"He's another Sizemore," the scout said. "He takes good at-bats, he can throw, and he can run."
3. Justin Masterson is better than he was, Josh Tomlin is better than you think, and Alex White can be a difference-maker.
Masterson started 0-5 last year. He's 5-0 this year. Scouts say he could be even better if he would consistently use his sinker against left-handed hitters, who are still hitting .295 against him.
Tomlin is 4-0, and on the way to living up to one scout's spring training prediction that he would win more games than Fausto Carmona or Carlos Carrasco.
As for White, the 2009 No. 1 draft pick who debuted Saturday against the Tigers, one scout called him "the real deal." Told that the Indians actually think 2010 first-rounder Drew Pomeranz will be better than White, the scout said, "Well, then they'll have two top-of-the-rotation guys."
White only joined the rotation because both Mitch Talbot and Carrasco are hurt, but this scout predicted that there's no way the Indians can send him back to the minor leagues now.
"They'll just have to pay him," he said. "They ought to sign him to a long-term deal right now."
4. Tim Belcher's message is getting through.
Belcher worked in the Cleveland front office after retiring as a pitcher, then became the Indians' pitching coach last year. One scout gives him credit for the Indians' strong start, saying, "Belcher has them pitching to a game plan. The stuff isn't that electric, but they make it work."
5. The Orlando Cabrera effect. Cabrera moves from team to team, but as one scout said Monday, winning follows him. Since July 2004, when the Expos sent him to the Red Sox as part of the Nomar Garciaparra deal, Cabrera has changed teams seven times, but has made the playoffs every year but one.
"He's a menace," one scout said. "He's not great at second base, but he wins."
And so, for now, do the Indians.
Posted on: October 8, 2010 1:25 am
Edited on: October 8, 2010 1:39 am
Please, give us more replay.
If only to stop the whining.
Yes, the umpires have made themselves into a huge story in the first two days of this postseason, and that's unfortunate. But the whining about the umpires should be just as big a story, and that's doubly unfortunate.
It would be great if umpires got every call right (not realistic, but great). It would be fine if increased use of replay could help improve the percentage of correct calls (very possible, although it still wouldn't be perfect).
It would be even better if players and managers would understand that most of the time, the responsibility for losing or winning lies with them, and not the umpires.
The guy who has the biggest beef so far is Bobby Cox, whose Braves lost 1-0 to the Giants in a game where the only run scored after a call that replays showed clearly to be incorrect. Buster Posey was out at second base on his fourth-inning steal. I know that, you know that, Buster Posey knows that and even Paul Emmel knows that, now that he's had a chance to see the replay.
And yet Cox, the all-time ejection leader, didn't argue the call. He said after the game that he had a bad angle from the dugout (even Emmel had a bad angle, and he was a lot closer), and that his infielders didn't protest the call.
The Braves, by all accounts, didn't whine about the call. According to Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution , even Brooks Conrad, the second baseman who tagged Posey before he reached the bag, quickly pointed out that the Braves "didn't get the job done offensively."
Good for them, because we've had far too much whining.
Earlier Thursday, Joe Maddon was thrown out of the Rays' 6-0 loss to the Rangers. Ron Gardenhire was thrown out of the Twins' 5-2 loss to the Yankees.
Maddon was upset with a swing/no-swing call on Michael Young, just before Young's home run that helped put the Rays away. Gardenhire was upset with a strike/no-strike call on Lance Berkman, just before Berkman's game-winning double.
Replays shown on television suggested that Maddon and Gardenhire had reason to be upset. But let's remember that no proposed replay system would cover balls and strikes, or check-swings.
No matter what, we'll be reliant on umpires making the right decision. As technology gets better and better, we'll have more and more reason to question those decisions.
It's inevitable that we'll have expanded use of replay, sometime, somehow.
But as even Bobby Cox admitted after a bad call seemingly cost him the game Thursday, replay isn't the total answer.
"Let's leave it the way it is," Cox said. "We would be arguing and throwing flags 10 times a night."
Fans actually love the arguments. Last weekend in Atlanta, during the Cox retirement ceremonies, fans cheered loudest when a Cox argument was shown on the video board. In the game that day, when there was a questionable call, the fans began chanting, "Bobby! Bobby!" even though Cox never appeared on the field.
They love arguments. I can't imagine they love whining.
And unfortunately, this postseason has already had too much whining.
There was even whining after the most memorable game of the postseason so far, Roy Halladay's Wednesday night no-hitter against the Reds. That night, Reds shortstop Orlando Cabrera complained about home-plate umpire John Hirschbeck's strike zone, even though Hirschbeck has always been a pitchers' umpire, and he wasn't any more generous than usual.
But Cabrera seemed to be on his own. The whining Thursday was worse.
The Rays, who embarrassed themselves by the way they played in two home losses to the Rangers, embarrassed themselves further by seeming to place the blame Thursday on the umpires. Maddon's tirade was bad enough, but the display later by catcher Kelly Shoppach was totally uncalled for.
As for Gardenhire, his problems with umpire Hunter Wendelstedt go back years, as colleague Scott Miller pointed out . It wasn't a great idea to assign Wendelstedt to a Twins playoff series.
The Rays aren't down two games to none because of bad umpiring, or a lack of replay. The Twins aren't down two games to none to the Yankees because of bad umpiring, or a lack of replay.
Roy Halladay didn't throw a no-hitter because of bad umpiring.
And even the Braves, who watched the Giants' lone run score after a seemingly bad call by an umpire, never scored a run themselves.
It was a bad call. I get that.
Some expanded replay would help. I get that.
But replay or no replay, there will be calls that don't go your way.
Can we stop whining about it?
Posted on: October 7, 2009 4:22 pm
Edited on: October 7, 2009 4:23 pm
NEW YORK -- The week before the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline, Twins players complained about the team's annual failure to acquire midseason help.
“We’ve fallen short [in the division] a couple times, and most of us feel like maybe that one little piece of the puzzle to help us out might have been the difference,” closer Joe Nathan told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
This year, the Twins didn't fall short. And, sure enough, the little pieces of the puzzle they acquired at midseason turned out to be the difference.
It's funny to look back now, because on July 31, when the Twins acquired shortstop Orlando Cabrera from the A's, they were completely overshadowed by the Tigers' acquisition of Jarrod Washburn and by the White Sox getting Jake Peavy.
Funny, because Washburn won exactly one game for the Tigers, and Peavy didn't even pitch for the Sox until Chicago was already out of the race. Funny, because Cabrera drove in 36 runs in 59 games for the Twins. He hit .411 in the last 16 games of the regular season, and his two-run home run was a key hit in the Twins' 12-inning, 6-5 tiebreaking win over the Tigers Tuesday night.
Meanwhile, the Twins also go help from three other midseason acquisitions: starter Carl Pavano and relievers Jon Rauch and Ron Mahay.
The Twins players deserve most of the credit for their run to the playoffs. But it turns out general manager Bill Smith played a pretty big part in it, too.
Plenty of Twins people were calling Tuesday's game the best they'd ever been part of.
Not Dan Gladden.
Gladden, a Twins radio announcer, scored the winning run in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series. Understandably, he's partial to that game.
"Jack Morris, Game 7, I'd have to say that was a little better," Gladden said. "But this game had everything."
Posted on: March 3, 2009 11:40 am
Edited on: March 3, 2009 4:00 pm
PHOENIX -- The A's have a new shortstop, but also a renewed concern.
Manager Bob Geren said this morning that No. 1 starter Justin Duchscherer was having his sore right elbow looked at by a doctor. Duchscherer is the only A's starter with a full year in the big leagues. He hasn't yet appeared in a spring training game, but has been throwing bullpens.
"It's precautionary," Geren said.
Also, with the A's signing Orlando Cabrera to be their shortstop, incumbent Bobby Crosby said he wants to be traded.
"I feel I'm a shortstop," Crosby said. "I want to be a shortstop somewhere."
The problem, of course, is that the A's owe Crosby $5.25 million this year, on the final year of a five-year, $12.75 million deal signed in April 2005. That's one problem, anyway. The other is that Crosby has hit .229, .226 and .237 the last three seasons, and after hitting 22 home runs as a rookie, he has hit 33 the last four seasons combined.
Posted on: December 9, 2008 8:58 pm
That would be $34.6 million in 2008 salary, gone from the payroll, assuming they find a taker for Dye without picking up a significant salary in return. The big question being asked is what general manager Ken Williams plans to do with all that money.
"You don't rebuild when you just won the division," a rival executive said today.
That's fine, because manager Ozzie Guillen said that's not the right word for what the Sox are doing.
"We're not rebuilding," he said. "We just want a mix. . . . We're not rebuilding. We're just trying to get younger."
Guillen was never comfortable with the mix the White Sox had the last two years, and often expressed a desire to add speed. Now he thinks the White Sox will be doing just that.
"I think it'll be more fun," he said. "I think it'll be a better baseball team."
Posted on: November 18, 2008 11:02 am
The Orioles desperately need a shortstop, but they're not expected to make a play for any of the free agents available this winter (Rafael Furcal, Orlando Cabrera, Edgar Renteria). Instead, the O's will focus on pursuing the two big-name free agents with Maryland ties -- first baseman Mark Teixeira and right-hander A.J. Burnett.
Teixeira was born in Maryland and attended high school in Baltimore. Burnett is an Arkansas native, but he makes his home in Monkton, just outside Baltimore.
The Orioles desperately need starting pitching. Their rotation combined for a 5.51 ERA in 2008, tied with Texas for the worst in the majors.
Finding a shortstop remains a priority, but the O's will likely try to address that need through the trade market. Khalil Greene of the Padres, Jack Wilson of the Pirates and Bobby Crosby of the A's are all possibilities.
Posted on: October 20, 2008 5:04 pm
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Joe Maddon says the Phillies are like an American League team, because they have a deep lineup.
Maddon's Tampa Bay players may not agree.
"I'll tell you what," ALCS MVP Matt Garza said today. "Facing that Phillies lineup, compared to facing the Red Sox lineup, the Tigers lineup or the Yankees lineup, you get a little bit of a break with the Phillies lineup, especially pitching in Philly. There's that nine-hole guy (pitcher) I get to throw against. I'm pretty pumped. I get to be that nine-hole guy, too. I'm excited about that."
While Maddon won't announce his World Series rotation until Tuesday, Garza pitched Game 7 against the Red Sox on Sunday night, so he won't be available until Game 3, on Saturday in Philadelphia. Maddon could go with Scott Kazmir and James Shields in the first two games, on normal rest.
"(Rollins) and Victorino are their sparkplugs, man," Garza said. "Just like Boston had Coco (Crisp) and (Jacoby) Ellsbury, and Chicago had (Orlando) Cabrera and (Alexei) Ramirez. Those guys are what make it go. (Chase) Utley and (Ryan) Howard, you've got to watch out, because those are the ones who drop the big bombs. But if you keep Rollins and Victorino off the bases, you can control the running game, shut down their offense a little bit and let them rely on their big swings."