Finding a home for Orlando Cabrera


Spring training is quickly approaching us and Orlando Cabrera is still a free agent. He was considered by many as one of the top free agent shortstops available this year. Shortstop is often a scarce position therefore one would assume Cabrera would have been snatched up. The 36 year old righthanded shortstop is still looking for a job and Pittsburgh could be a great place for him to call home.  


Many writers on Twitter have pointed out that Cabrera would be a good fit in Pittsburgh and he most certainly would be. The Pirates have two shortstops on the 40 man roster that could compete for the job; Ronny Cedeno and Josh Rodriguez.


Cedeno was the primary shortstop for the Pirates last year after coming over in the 2009 Jack Wilson trade with the Mariners. In 502 plate appearances last year, he hit .256/.293/.382 with 8 homeruns, 38 RBI, and 12 stolen bases. A large majority of his stats from last year were slightly below average. He is an average fielder, if not a touch below average. At the age of 28, the once heralded Cubs prospect could still possibly get his career on track with more major league experience


The Pirates drafted Josh Rodriguez with the first overall pick in the 2010 Rule V draft from the Indians organization. Rodriguez, now 26, started 2010 in AA but was called up to AAA which is where he spent most of the year. Rodriguez will have to spend all of 2011 on the active roster unless the Pirates want to offer him back to Cleveland for $25,000. Rodriguez hit .297 last year over the course of 443 plate appearances. He had 13 homeruns, 57 RBI, and 6 stolen bases to go with.  He does strikeout at a little to much but he has the makings to be a solid utility man. I’m not so sure he has the stuff to start.


Those are the current candidates for the starting shortstop job and they aren’t guys that stand out. Orlando Cabrera isn’t anything spectacular, but if his career stays on path, he would be an upgrade over both of these players. Cabrera isn’t at the most attractive age but he is still capable of being productive. He hit .263 last year which was a little below his career average of .274. Cabrera offers about the same power and speed as Cedeno but what really puts Cabrera above is his ability to not strike out and his defense. Cabrera’s defense has been a little on the decline but it is still much better than that of Cedeno’s. In 2010, Cabrera had the second lowest strikeout rate in the league for shortstops (10.7%) which was more than 10% lower than that of Cedeno’s. Cabrera has always posted a very low K% so these numbers are not out of the blue.  


Cabrera would not be a costly option at shortstop. Last year, he made $2.27 Million and I would expect him to less than that this year. I think he could be signed for $1.5-2 million. Cedeno will be making $1.825 million in 2011 so obviously Cabrera would not cost much more.


One last thing to leave you with is the Bill James 2011 projections for Cedeno and Cabrera (Projections are not available for Rodriguez)





















This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of the managing editor (Charlie) or SB Nation. FanPosts are written by Bucs Dugout readers.

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