Yesterday on Richard Griffin's 'Blue Jays Mail Bag' Blog there was a question and answer that caught my eye:
Q: Lots of speculation about the Jays needing and looking to accumulate a "big bat" lately. I think that maybe a different direction might help them score more runs, i.e. a whippet on the basepaths, someone like Reyes of the Mets. The Jays have been without a bona fide base stealer of the highest order for far too long now. Any potential free agents or trades in the off-season possible?
Ken Moore, Niagara Falls
A: There are very few whippets available out there, but there are other solutions. For one, I would consider going after free agent shortstop Orlando Cabrera after he leaves the White Sox at the end of this year. He is a slick fielder, steals bags and has been in the playoffs four times in the past five years with three different franchises. He established himself with the Expos so he is comfortable playing in Canada. No, he’s not the classic type leadoff man, but neither was Devo. His last contract was $32 million for four years. That’s about what you could sign him for next time around. He’s a Cito-type player.
And then today on Jeff Blair's Globe on Baseball Blog he says (I believe, it is hard to figure out what his point is) that we should sign Cabrera because, well, because he's a lousy person and we need some of those on the team.
Now I can't understand why two journalists would each come up with the idea that Cabrera would be a solution to the Jays troubles is beyond me. Blair's reasoning, well I understand it in a hockey or football sense. A lot of hockey teams have a player that the other teams hate. In physical sports like those it can take a team's mind off winning. Players get more intent on hurting that player. Does that matter in baseball? Not sure, Orlando did mouth off at Balfour yesterday and then struck out. Didn't seem to help his team.
Griffin's reasons? 'He's a slick fielder' well yeah sure ok. 'Steals bags'.....ok....well he stole 19 this season, caught 6 times, net gain of almost 2 runs. Season before it was 20 steals and 4 caught.
Here is the big one....I'll put it in quotes....
and has been in the playoffs four times in the past five years with three different franchises.
There it is. He's a winner. Can't argue with that. And he did so much to help the teams win that they sent him off to a different team each time. Four teams in the last five seasons. Don't you love that, call a guy a winner and it can't be argued with. Could it be that he's been lucky? Course could also say that he can't get along even with his own teammates and he wears out his welcome in a hurry.
He established himself with the Expos so he is comfortable playing in Canada.
There we go....he was signed as an amateur free agent by the Expos and he didn't run back to Colombia when the Expos called him up to Montreal. That's a positive? I mean, I've never been to Colombia but if my choice was play baseball for $170,000 in Montreal, with the understanding that if I keep doing it that salary will go up each season, or I could go to Colombia and ummmmmm harvest sugar cane? Hey, I could put up with signs in French for that.
No, he’s not the classic type leadoff man, but neither was Devo.
No, no he isn't the classic leadoff man.....classic lead off men, you know, GET ON BASE! Shall we compare him to everyone's favorite lead off man Marco Scutaro...last season:
Cabrera .281/.334/.371 OPS+84
Scoot .267/.341/.356 OPS+86
Cabrera .274/.322./.399 OPS+86
Scoot .261/.325/.377 OPS+86
Now I am the last guy to stick up for Scoot but do you see a difference? Yeah, Orlando stole 12 more bases last year, that should make him worth about.....
His last contract was $32 million for four years. That’s about what you could sign him for next time around.
Oh good, for only 8 mill a season we could have someone that we couldn't tell apart from Marco Scutaro. Add in that Orlando is now 33 and a four year contract would lock him up till he's 38 and he's marginal now.....$32 mill seems like a bargain. Now, this is a selling point in Mr. Griffin's mind. And this guy calls for JP's head every other day?
He’s a Cito-type player.
Ok, once again you can't argue it because, well, what the frig does it mean? 'He's a Cito-type player'? Are we saying Cito is stupid? Well, there are moments when he's leaving a pitcher out there long after he has lost it that I wonder, but no we can't be saying that. I think what he is saying is that Cito likes Scoot (if, you know, there aren't any obviously better choices to play in the middle infield) so therefore he would like another Scoot at roughly three times the cost. How many guys with almost league average on base percentages can we bat at the top of the order?
I would guess that a 'Cito-type' player would be a rather large slugger. Someone that could drive in 100+ runs a year. That, to me, would be a Cito-type player. Course it would also be a Rincewind-type player too. I hate to ask this question yet again but do these guys really get paid to write this stuff??