OCab gives Indians veteran option

   February 11, 2011 12:10 pm    Comments Off

 

Orlando Cabrera

The addition of free-agent infielder Orlando Cabrera gives the Cleveland Indians a veteran presence who can provide infield depth and flexibility.

It will also help ease the mind of manager Manny Acta, who was dealing with uncertainty at second and third base before Cabrera’s signing Thursday. Cabrera likely will start at second, next to Asdrubal Cabrera (unrelated) at shortstop, or at least compete for the starting gig at second.

OCab has spent the majority of his 14-season major league career at shortstop, including last season with the Cincinnati Reds. It’s no secret that Cabrera’s strength is his defense; he made 11 errors in 2010 at short. Actually, OCab probably is a better defensive shortstop than Asdrubal Cabrera, but the Indians will not move the younger Cabrera for a stop-gap player.

OCab’s bat makes him an unlikely candidate for third base since he is a career .274 hitter who had four homers, 42 RBIs and 11 steals in 123 games last season. Cabrera hasn’t played any position but shortstop or designated hitter since 2000, but he has played 33 games at second base in his major league career.

With the signing, the Indians won’t feel pressure to use Jason Donald, Jayson Nix, Luis Valbuena or Cord Phelps as the starter at second. It also helps secure infield depth until prospects Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall are ready for the majors. Kipnis (second base) and Chisenhall (third base) most likely will start the season in Triple-A Columbus.

Donald, Nix, Phelps, Jack Hannahan and others will compete for the opening at third base in spring training. It’s likely up to two of the players who lose out on the starting job will start the season as Tribe reserves.

Indians pitchers and catchers report to Goodyear, Ariz., for spring training on Tuesday. The Tribe’s position players are scheduled to report on Feb. 18, with the first complete team workout scheduled for Feb. 20.

On the web

–Check out this video interview of San Francisco Giants outfielder Cody Ross, who played for the Erie SeaWolves in 2002.

–Curious which prospects will be competing at major league camps? MLB Prospect Watch gives lists of each team’s minor league invites to spring training.

–Still chuckling because Pittsburgh Pirates starter Ross Ohlendorf (1-11 in 2010) won his arbitration case? Get more perspective on the insanity of stats here and here.

–Tony Battaglia

 

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