The MLB trade deadline looms and the Sox are making their calls and doing their research. The club has been tied to names such as Carlos Beltran and Hiroki Kuroda, but GM Theo Epstein has been quoted as saying that the team could benefit from a low-cost complimentary position player. While there are numerous options out there that may fit this mold, one in particular jumps to my mind.
Back in 2004, the Sox made a huge move at the trade deadline. They traded Boston icon Nomar Garciaparra to the Cubs and got back infielder Orlando Cabrera — along side first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz — in a four-team deal. Cabrera went on to hit .294/.320/.465 for the Sox and played stellar defense as the team went on to win their first World Series championship since 1918.
Now, seven years later, Orlando Cabrera is back in a playoff race with the Cleveland Indians. However, his production is clearly not that of an everyday player and the Tribe have top prospect Jason Kipnis ready and waiting to take over second base duties.
Should the Sox look at adding O-Cab for a second World Series run together?
The key to the move would be cost, as the Indians won’t be asking for much more than a player to be named later or cash considerations. O-Cab would serve as infield depth, which is currently provided by Yamaico Navarro. Cabrera wouldn’t bring the talented bat that he did back in 2004, but he would provide adequate defense in a pinch and versatility, having player second, third and shortstop this season.
The other thing that would bring is veteran leadership, experience and a clubhouse presence.
I know, I know. Fire Brand is not about the “We lack team chemistry!” type of analysis. We like to break things down using a backdrop of statistics to support our opinions. However, there is something to be said for experience — post season experience in particular — and the way a team can come together to achieve goals beyond people’s expectations. Red Sox fans know this more than anyone. O-Cab is that veteran that can seamlessly fit into the clubhouse and provide the experience needed at the plate and in the field during the season’s most crucial moments.
The beauty of adding Cabrera would be that he would not be counted on for anything aside from providing depth. Jed Lowrie could be back in the mix before long, but there’s no guarantee that he can stay healthy once back on the field.
This suggestion that the Sox could bring back Orlando Cabrera is nothing more than an idea. A concept of a move the Sox could make. They may or may not even be looking at a move like this, but when considering the situation for both the Indians and the Red Sox, it does make sense.
More than anything, this suggestion is meant to start the conversation, not end it. Do the Sox pursue a complimentary piece like Cabrera? If not Cabrera, then who?