August 2, 2009 – The Twins traded for some middle infield help getting shortstop Orlando Cabrera from the Oakland A’s for minor league shortstop Tyler Ladendorf who was a 2nd round pick in the 2008 Free Agent draft but was not rated as a top 10 prospect in the Twins organization. Ladendorf was in Elizabethton in 2008 and started there again this year but after hitting .410 in 61 at bats was promoted to Beloit. Ladendorf is an athletic player who the A’s see as a possible 3B down the line.
Orlando Cabrera, 34 years old is in his 13th season of major league ball having played for the Expos, Red Sox, Angels, White Sox, and the A’s. Cabrera got off to a slow start with the A’s in 2009 but his numbers are still looking pretty good as he is hitting .280 with 4 home runs and 41 RBI’s to go along with 11 stolen bases for a team that is not a fan of the stolen base. The A’s usually batted Cabrera in the 2 spot and that is probably what the Twins will also do sliding Mauer and the rest of the boys down one slot. Cabrera has probably lost a step over the years but he should be an adequate shortstop for the Twins for the remainder of the season and the added stability of a consistent number 2 hitter to go with a consistent player at short should help the team. Cabrera has won two gold gloves in his career.
Now if the Twins could have just acquired Freddy Sanchez from Pittsburgh, but that is a whole different story and we won’t go there. I applaud GM Smith for making this deal because I think it will help the team on a number of fronts. It is easy to “fall in love” with your prospects and I often think that the Twins consider their prospects a lot more valuable than others may see them. But sometimes you have to sit back and say to yourself, why do we have prospects? The answer seems simple, it is so they can become major league players and help the Twins win, right? If so, then why is it so difficult to trade prospects for someone who is already a proven big league player? I am not saying you trade all your prospects, I am saying that when you have a shot at a division title, and that chance does not come around that often, then you go for it and make some deals if they can help your club over the hump. I am not saying that Cabrera will win the division for Minnesota but he will help the ball club.
This team still has holes to plug in the bullpen as we have seen recently. Hopefully Smith can swing some deals in August to remedy that situation but it is tougher when the players have to clear waivers. The starting pitching has also been atrocious lately but before we throw them all under a bus let’s see what happens after the sizzling hot Angels leave town. It will be interesting too what Mark Grudzielanek can do at 2B once he is ready to play and from what I hear, that is not far away. When that time comes, who gets sent down or moved, Casilla again?
So how would I rate GM Smith’s actions during this trading deadline? I will be generous and give him a “C” and remind myself that getting Orlando Cabrera to play short is better than getting poked in the eye with a sharp stick.