The Orioles are not done adding infielders after all. Following on the heels of yesterday's addition of Jayson Nix on a minor league deal, multiple media outlets are reporting that the Orioles are closing in on signing former Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera to a one-year contract worth about $2.4 million.
That would seem to be a lot of money for a backup infielder.
Cabrera is another player who was swept up in the Biogenesis probe. He was popped for 50 games in the 2013 season, much like Nelson Cruz. Of course, Cruz went on to have a successful season with the 2014 Orioles. Cabrera's return to action was not so good: He batted a paltry .232/.272/.300 while playing in only 90 games for San Diego. Over parts of six big league seasons, he's played in a total of 481 games and has a batting line of .248/.319/.333, which is an exactly Flahertian career OPS.
Where defense is concerned, measures like Defensive Runs Saved and UZR ring him in as adequate at best. He has played nearly 4,000 innings of shortstop at the big league level. In that time he has dropped a -13 in DRS and a -22.6 in UZR. So basically, what the heck?
Noise might also be made about his potential as a leadoff hitter due to having speed. It's true he's stolen 136 bases in his career and was successful about 78% of the time. But again, return to that on-base percentage. When you are reaching at a .319 clip, you are not the ideal leadoff hitter, no matter how many bases you can steal.
He is only 28 years old and put together a decent .283/.355/.381 season before being suspended in 2013. There is potentially a useful player in there somewhere if he puts it all together, which he never did before they gave up on him in San Diego. We know how Dan Duquette is with giving these types of player second chances.
Cabrera does still have a minor league option remaining, so it's possible he could be stashed in Norfolk, though it's even more money for a minor leaguer than it is for a big league backup. Would the Orioles use that as a chance to put Jonathan Schoop back in the minors for a little while, or Ryan Flaherty?
Talking about squeezing out an extra year of service time for Schoop is loser talk. The O's franchise is good right now and needs the best players on the roster right now. Though this doesn't seem to be any concern for the O's, as they're probably going to end up doing something similar with Kevin Gausman.
Even more concerning than any of his on-field performance is the fact that Cabrera has a domestic violence arrest on his record. The charges were dropped, but it is hard to feel good about any player who has been described as having "struck his wife in the face with a closed fist" and also that he "slammed her head against a wall."
In the dark Orioles days, the team inexplicably employed a player who was not good at baseball and also had some domestic violence history. My Camden Chat predecessor Stacey Folkemer avoided referring to that player by name; generally he was "the backup second baseman" or "B2B" if he had to be referenced at all. From this point forward, I will be continuing that precedent with the former Padres shortstop.