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The Causes And Effects Of Maybe Getting "The Wrong Cabrera"

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     {OT NOTE: Ziggy an Angel? Today he is: Check it out and chat with him about it.}

Why would the A's even kick the tires on Orlando Cabrera, a modest upgrade from Crosby who will cost additional money and who also costs a draft pick? While I am not overly enthused over the idea of landing O. Cabrera, I am also not opposed because I can see both pros and cons. With this prose, let me focus on the pros.

"PRO" # THE FIRST ONE: Cabrera is an upgrade over the status flail, Bobby Crosby, to the tune of an estimated 2 wins or so. The thing about calculating "the number of wins" a player is worth is that it is not an exact science. Maybe Cabrera turns out to be more like just a (hardly different) one win upgrade, maybe more like a (actually pretty substantial) three win upgrade, you don't know. What you know is that it's an upgrade and when you appear to be on the cusp of competing, and you only have so many positions you can hope to upgrade, sometimes you take upgrades where you can, even if they seem potentially marginal.

In other words, a slightly better hitter and slightly better fielder at SS moves you another step in the right direction for fielding a playoff-caliber team. No doubt the standard deviation created by health, luck, and surprises far exceed the standard deviation of the upgrade from Crosby to Cabrera. At the same time, your team that is pretty good no doubt has a better chance to be good with Cabrera at SS than with Crosby.

"PRO" # THE SECOND ONE: Cabrera is a little better than his stats, which are deflated by the fact that he does not walk, or drive the ball, often enough to sport a good OPS and is not spectacular on defense.

Batting leadoff or second in the order, as Cabrera has often done, he is a liability, but batting 9th his strengths can be used rather than his weaknesses just being exposed. Everyone's #9 hitter gets out 70% of the time and everyone's #9 hitter is no slugger, so Cabrera is not hurting you relative to "position" as a #9 hitter. However, he bunts, hits behind the runner, and puts the ball in play especially well, allowing his team to play "small ball" at the bottom of the order as a balance to the "take and rake" ball Oakland will be playing with Cust, Holliday, Giambi, and Chavez.

Defensively, Cabrera is no whiz but he is sure-handed and fundamentally sound. He won't make great plays or show tremendous range, but he also will make the plays he is there to make with far fewer "unforced errors" than Crosby is prone to making.

"PRO" # THE THIRD ONE: Don't be too sure that Cabrera's price tag will be nearly as much as feared. Giambi's sure wasn't, the market is awfully soft this year for non-superstars, and the A's made it clear months ago that their interest in Cabrera would be "later, if he were still available and cheap." The A's have some payroll flexibility this year but that does not change their status as a small-market team feeling the pinch of this deep recession. If the A's sign Cabrera, we might all be pleasantly surprised at the terms of the deal.

"PRO" # THE FOURTH ONE: I'm actually at the point of irrationally wanting a different failure if the alternative is the same failure. Orlando Cabrera is not Bobby Crosby - where do I sign up?