Initial Thoughts on the O-Cab Signing

Well, the inevitable finally happened. The team with the biggest need for a dependably starting-caliber shortstop finally signed a decent one. For $4 million, this is a good deal for the team. As I'm sure some of you have noticed from some of my recent posts, I was one of a handful of actual Bobby Crosby hopeless cheerleaders/apologists/believers on this site, and yet, even so, I'm happy and excited with this signing. O-Cab is an improvement over 2006-2008 Bobby Crosby in just about every aspect of the game of baseball, and he might just be enough of a net-win improver that he closes the projected gap between the A's and the Angels all by himself. Thus, this is good news.

The A's will lose their 2nd rock draft pick in the 2009 draft to the White Sox as compensation for O-Cab, but that isn't a huge deal. I'm not exactly sure where the A's would have picked in the 2nd round, but in any case, it would have been more like a 3rd rounder anyway due to the continued ballooning of the sandwich (supplemental 1st) round. And even so, the A's newfound willingness to go over-slot in the later rounds of the draft should allow the team to nab some promising players even without a 2nd round selection.

Some quick takes:

- O-Cab is best suited to bat in the bottom of the batting order. He doesn't have a great career OBP (though still better than Crobsy's) but he's a good baserunner and puts the ball in play a lot. I think he's best used in the 9-hole where he can act as a sort of "2nd leadoff hitter" type.

- Mark Ellis has yet to get medical clearance to play defense at Spring Training. I think having O-Cab around reinforces the bench quite a bit in the event that Mark cannot begin the season 100-percent, as Orlando had previously indicated earlier this off-season that he'd be willing to play some 2nd base.

- Fangraphs agrees that this is a good move for the A's. They think it adds one win to the A's over the course of this coming season, noting that O-Cab is not great offensively anymore, but that his defense is still likely to be above-average.

- Bobby Crosby's future is now quite murky. The A's are on the hook for his $5.5 million 2009 salary and they couldn't give him away earlier this off-season. Seeing as how any team could have (theoretically) signed O-Cab (a better player than Bobby) for as little as $4.1 million as recently as yesterday, it's pretty obvious that the shortstop market is dead. I'll predict that Bobby stays with the team as the primary middle infield backup and that he gets a fair amount of playing time, as he is probably still a better backup than Cliff Pennington or even Jack Hannahan at this point.

- The team is still in negotiations with both Nomar and Dennys Reyes. The addition of both would really solidify this team going forward, but in order for that to happen, the team would need to free up two spots on the 40-man roster as it is now currently full thanks to this latest move.

- Slusser just mentioned that O-Cab is expected to report to A's camp on Thursday...just in time for me to see him don the green and gold for the first time as I'll be at Phoenix Muni Wednesday through Friday! Whoo hoo!

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