October 6, 2008

Winter Targets: Orlando Cabrera

Source: Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis, St. Paul Star-Tribune.

Over the weekend, Joe Christensen mentioned Orlando Cabrera as a potential off-season target that the Twins may try to pursue.

Last winter, the Twins signed Adam Everett in hope to provide leadership, defense and time for the Twins to continue to develop Alexi Casilla and Trevor Plouffe in the minor leagues. Everett's signing quickly turned to be deplorable, and it's not likely for the Twins to re-sign him this off-season. And with Casilla likely being permanently imprinted into second base for the rest of the time he's in a Twins uniform, it looks likely that the Twins will be in pursuit of a shortstop either via trade or free agency this off-season.

Cabrera is currently playing for the Chicago White Sox. In his 12-year career, he has also spent time with the Montreal Expos, the Los Angeles (of Anaheim) Angels as well as helping the Boston Red Sox win the World Series in 2004. He has won two gold gloves in his career and is known as one of the better defensive shortstops in the league.

Out of 18 shortstops eligibile, Cabrera finished tied for 15th with an OPS+ of 84 this past season. In comparison, (if eligible) Nick Punto would of had an OPS+ of 96 last year. So offensively, despite having better (lets call them) "glamor stats" (ei. HR & RBI), he really isn't an upgrade on offense over what Punto is, at least last year. Also, Punto's defense is known around the league as being pretty good as well.

It may be like I'm getting to a point, which I am. Christensen mentioned that it may take a 3-year $30 million deal to sign Cabrera (just his guess). But I would like to know is if spending (on average) $7.6 million more per season than what we payed Punto in '08, don't you think we should be getting a significant upgrade at the position? The way I see it, Cabrera is not really any better than Punto, despite what some "Punto-basher's" might think. He just isn't. He's 3 years older than Punto and really does not provide anything (besides power) that Punto cannot do. Also, I can see the Twins re-signing Punto to a 2-year $6 million deal (in part to there being a "discount" involved), which is a much cheaper than what it'd take to sign Cabrera.

I like that the Twins are already linked to a player who is looking to get significant money, I just hope that the Twins don't sign Cabrera. And if they do, I think anything more than $5 million is too much, and even that's pushing it. I'm not endorsing for the Twins to re-sign Punto, however I'd personally rather see him in a Twins uniform in 2009 than Cabrera.

Hopefully this doesn't amount to anything.