How does Evereth Cabrera impact the Baltimore Orioles?
With position players reporting yesterday to Sarasota, the Baltimore Orioles are now complete – in spring training. The first full-squad workouts will be today, and the team will now be together in some form until October. The O’s of course finalized their one-year $2.4 million contract with infielder Evereth Cabrera earlier this week, and from my standpoint it’s a curious one. The tea leaves seem to indicate that Cabrera will be a utility infielder. Or will he?
Cabrera has played mostly shortstop in his career, but very little second base. I can guarantee you that the O’s aren’t looking to move J.J. Hardy off of shortstop anytime soon, however they are confident that Cabrera can nimbly move around the infield if need be.
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Cabrera will potentially compete with Jonathan Schoop and Ryan Flaherty for the second base and utility spots on the roster. The difference between those two and Cabrera is that Flaherty and Schoop have options. However I would submit that Schoop has more upside right now than does Cabrera, given the fact that he’s one year removed from his rookie season. However $2.4 million is a lot to pay for a utility infielder, and/or a depth move. So what are the Orioles planning on doing?
I do believe that Cabrera will give them some needed speed on the base paths. But where does that leave the likes of Flaherty, presuming that Schoop’s spot is on a bit more of solid ground? It’s really tough to say. Are the O’s possibly thinking of stashing Flaherty in the minors to keep around for the potential of using him as trade bait? I’ve long suggested that while Flaherty has been valuable to the franchise and has become a fan favorite, he might be worth more to the organization on the trade market.
It’s tough to say – right now. Here’s the other thing; what if Manny Machado isn’t ready for opening day? Of the two big injured players, I’ve always thought that he was further along than Matt Wieters. However if for some reason he’s not ready to go come game one, Flaherty is a decent corner infielder. Chris Davis will have to sit out the first game, howeever after that I suspect he could play third with Flaherty at first.
Ultimately I think that the O’s have a plan, they just aren’t letting on what it is regarding all of these guys. No team just blindly signs players without a method to all of the madness. So something will come of this, and Cabrera is here for a reason. If that reason is to provide a fire under Jonathan Schoop, so be it. The same for Ryan Flaherty, among others. However I would submit that come opening day, there’s very little chance that Schoop, Flaherty, and Cabrera are all on the roster. But bear in mind that I’ve been wrong before!