There’s no rush

You may have caught this post from SI’s Jon Heyman, reviving speculation that the A’s might go after free agent shortstop Orlando Cabrera. One thing I find interesting regarding this crazy free agent shopping season: The activity we’re likely to see AFTER spring training begins, as opposed to teams hurrying to sign guys before camp. So when you examine the A’s roster on Feb. 14 when pitchers and catchers report, keep in mind things might change between then and Opening Day. Look at all those names still unsigned — Manny Ramirez, Bobby Abreu, Adam Dunn, Cabrera, etc. They may be on the sidelines once Cactus League games begin, but they’d still have plenty of time to sign and get in game-ready shape by the start of the regular season. I expect the A’s front office will be exploring its options long after players start trickling into Papago Park on Valentine’s Day.

Anyway, I’m curious how everybody feels about the Cabrera speculation that simply won’t die …

Joe Stiglich

  • A’s Bong

    I wouldnt mind signing Cabrera, but probably not for anything more than 2 years, maybe a club option for a 3rd year. Dude is getting old, although the prospect of having a legitimate lead off hitter in front of (presumably) Sweeney, Holliday, Giambi, Cust, and a healthy Chavez is very appealing. If this were to be the case, I’d look for Sweeney to have a monster year at the plate.

    One question tho, looking at Cabrera’s stats, he doesnt take too many walks. I havent seen much of Cabrera, but does he usually not work the count?

    Also a side question. I just read the book moneyball, and it seems as tho the A’s place a lot of emphasis on individual stats. But not once did the book mention how a big bat in the middle of the lineup can boost the numbers of those around him. Your thoughts?

  • I’ll be honest Bong, I couldn’t give you the best analysis of Cabrera’s approach at the plate. But I’ve talked to a couple of scouts recently (guys who see him regularly). They like him in the clutch, and they like the contact he makes. And we know from watching the A’s offense the past couple years that they could use somebody w/those characteristics. He could also fill a need as a leadoff man, one of their most pressing needs in my opinion, whether he walks a lot or not.

    As the years go by, I think we see the A’s are adjusting their “Moneyball” thinking in different ways. Regarding your point, we’ll find out this season how much an improved middle of the lineup helps other guys. I think Cust definitely is better suited to hitting, say, sixth than he is third. I agree w/you on Sweeney. With a good leadoff guy, he could thrive in the No. 2 spot. I know he’d like to hit there.

  • swinginas89

    I think people always misinterpret the message from Moneyball. The point is not that the A’s always gravitate toward OBP, the point is that the A’s always gravitate toward undervalued assets.

    Think back to the last relevant A’s team–the 2006 squad that won the west and got run over by the Tigers in the ALCS. That season the A’s essentially had 3 center fielders: Payton, Bradley and Kotsay. That team was built around defense at the expense of power and walks (Bradley was the only player with an OBP above .350, and none of them hit 15 bombs).

    For whatever reason, that type of player was relatively undervalued in the market, either in terms of market value or trade value, so the A’s moved in that direction.

    In fact, they’ve never really returned to the OPB/OPS ways–the obvious exception to that being Jack Cust, but he was such an undervalued asset that the A’s were the only team that could find virtue in his game.

    I think the A’s have a natural gravitation to players who can draw walks and pitchers who avoid them, to be sure. But it seems to me that it is no longer the #1 criteria they use in determining the value of a player.

  • Jeremy

    I’m all for a Cabrera addition at a major discount, which looks to be the case. A little distraught about losing the 2nd round pick for him, but it’s worth it to bring a player of OC’s caliber in the fold. It’s not often the A’s has opportunity to bring in a veteran with the talent and production Orlando brings to the table.

    IMO, it’s a very good idea to mix contact hitters like OC with patient, 3 outcome type players like Cust, Giambi, and Chavez (Chavvy not near as much as the other two). Improves the D, increases the MI depth in case Chavez, Crosby, and/or Ellis get hurt… Just seems like a great compliment to their current roster, and as an added bonus his playoff experience (4 of the last 5 years) will be huge come time for a postseason run.