Actually, Cabrera replaces Alexi Casilla because Punto will slide over and play 2b. As bad as Punto is with the bat, Casilla is much worse. Punto is also a defensive upgrade at second, so this may be worth slightly more than .5 win for the Twins.
I take slight issue with this calculation of Cabrera’s defensive value going forward, mainly because he’s 34 and it seems rather likely that he’s not nearly the same player he was last year. Specifically, his -6.0 RangeRating is worrisome for a usually rangy player. Coupled with his declining speed scores (5.1 in 2007, 4.6 in 2008, 3.5 this year), it’s obvious he’s lost a step. I fail to see how he’s any better than Nick Punto at this point.
The worst part for Twins fans, though, is that their best middle infielder, Brendan Harris, will be moved to the bench. (This seems rather inevitable if you follow the team and have become familiar with Gardenhire’s particular brand of idiocy). Cabrera at SS, Punto/Casilla at 2B < Harris/Punto at SS, Casilla/Punto at 2B.
The Twins gave up almost nothing in the trade, but also it probably hurts them a few runs this year.
I think that Cabrera evicting Brendan Harris from the lineup hurts the team almost as much as replacing Casilla with Punto helps. It’s a good idea to get Casilla out of the lineup, to be sure, but the easiest and most logical move was to call up the 25 year old Steven Tolleson with a .357 wOBA in AAA this year.
Harris was already being pushed to the bench. He has been slumping and with Crede healthy (for the time being) Harris was unlikely to see much playing time.
I’m not overly crazy about this trade because I think the Twins aren’t going too far even if they manage to win the Central. Still they didn’t give up much for O-Cab so I won’t complain. I wish they could have picked up a player like Sanchez who would be around next year, but Smith wasn’t willing to pay the price.
As a long-time Twins fan I have become accostomed to the July 31 letdown.
Cabrera is actually pushing Harris from short, not Punto. This could be a slight upgrade for the Twins, but it will in actuality not change a thing. Currently Cabrera and Harris’ offensive production is a wash, and with Punto remaining at second, what has changed? Maybe slightly better defense from Cabrera at short, but that is it. A hole remains at second and the fact that the Twins did anything at all is once again good enough for blind Twins fans. They ignored the true need for a competent second baseman, passing on Lopez and Sanchez, and have chosen instead to swap out players with very similar production. With the Tigers and White Sox making major upgrades to their starting pitching, the Twins have once again been outdone.
I think Cabrera is far more likely to come off his recent insane, unsustainable hot streak than he is to actually IMPROVE his offense as the year goes on. In other words, I think he’s more likely to finish around Punto’s .287 than he is a projected .316. Guy just doesn’t hit very many balls hard anymore. For the past month he’s been getting by on bleeders through the infield and little flares to right field. I can’t imagine that continues for 2 more months.
Honestly I’m glad that Cabrera can’t be offered arbitration. This way, the Twins can’t screw themselves by offering it, attempting to get the draft picks, and then watching in shock as a declining middle infielder in his mid-30’s accepts only to get paid a few million dollars.
This was a fine price to pay for Cabrera. It’s not really anything, at least not now, and for a two-month rental for a profile like O-Cab the A’s really couldn’t have expected much more.
You can’t believe how much time ive been googling just for this. Through eight pages of Askjeeve results with out finding anything. Just one search on Msn. There this is… Have to begin to use this more regularly