Should the Sox Bring Back O-Cab?

File:20110714-0344 Orlando Cabrera.jpgThe 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?

Categories: Boston Red Sox Carlos Beltran Doug Mientkiewicz Hiroki Kuroda Jed Lowrie Orlando Cabrera

Charlie first started writing about baseball back in 2008 when he opened Fantasy Baseball 365. Since graduating college with a degree in English, he has spent time coaching baseball as well as working in several minor league front offices. He also writes for The Outside Corner and contributes to Project Prospect and ESPN's Sweet Spot. Writer from August 3, 2010 - May 6, 2012

11 Responses to “Should the Sox Bring Back O-Cab?” Subscribe

  1. D&C, M&M, Big Show July 19, 2011 at 8:11 AM #

    Absolutely not. I can't bear the thought of the talk show morons that would be clamoring for him to be playing ahead of a healthy Scutaro/Lowrie.

    • chugg July 19, 2011 at 2:30 PM #

      Agree! No thanks, we can do better.

  2. don July 19, 2011 at 8:26 AM #

    Leadership and chemistry?

    "Cabrera's one season with White Sox was marred with controversy: arguing with manager Ozzie Guillén, leaving the clubhouse early to avoid the media,[1] calling the press box to have errors overturned,[2] questioning his teams winning attitude, and kicking dirt at Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Grant Balfour during an at-bat in Game 1 of the AL Divisional Series.[3]" wikipedia

    • Charlie Saponara July 19, 2011 at 4:42 PM #

      O-Cab has been in the Majors since 1997 and you cherry pick the one negative thing his Wikipedia page has to say about parts of his one year with the White Sox. As if that team was led and influenced by a calm and non-controversial manager.

      There has been a lot of talk in Cleveland how O-Cab has helped Asdrubal Caberera take his game to the next level. But that's not on his Wikipedia page, so it must not be true…I guess.

  3. kahlil July 19, 2011 at 11:51 AM #

    i like the idea more in terms of the clubhouse presence than his fielding. i have always thought that kevin millar should be drawing a paycheck just to keep everyone loose and to keep baseball fun.
    as far as pure playing, i think that they should bring iglesies (sp?) up. errors at short are costing us games and there is plenty of precedence for positive jumps in hitting average from minor to major leagues (with Reddick just being the latest.) my point is that the team can absorb an average around .200 if the defense really is that good. more range/ defensive prowess equals lower era which will stabilize the run differential more than one black hole in the line up. the national league has been doing it that way for years.
    all of our positional issues can be addressed within our farm system. pitching is the area of concern that needs to be addressed outside of the organization. what about one of oakland's starters? it seems like there could be a natural move between the two organizations.

    • Drugs Delaney July 20, 2011 at 9:33 AM #

      "… errors at short are costing us games …"

      How many games are we talking about? Through 95 games, the Sox are on pace to win 99 games, which would be the most since 1978. After starting the season 2-10, Boston has played .675 ball over an 83-game stretch. That's a 109-win pace. Errors at short can't be hurting too much, and there's a good chance Iglesias' bat would cost the Sox more games thanScutrao's or Lowrie's glove.

  4. Drugs Delaney July 19, 2011 at 12:16 PM #

    No way are the Sox going to bring back OC, nor should they. His bat isn't very good and his defense is pretty inconsistent. I doubt that he'd be an upgrade over Navarro. He might even be a downgrade. Another thing, OC has a bit of reputation as a clubhouse cancer.

    • Charlie Saponara July 19, 2011 at 4:53 PM #

      Such a cancer that Sox fans gave him a huge standing ovation in 2005 when he returned to Fenway as a member of the Angels.

      From an article that came out this May…

      "''He's got a track record,'' [Michael] Brantley said. ''There's a reason why when he goes to certain teams they win. He's a great leader in the clubhouse because he's always talking to the young guys. Even when we're moving around on defense, he'll talk to me about what I thought in that situation. He'll pull me aside and say, 'Hey Bran, I think he's going to try to do this to you.' It's nice to have that player who's like a coach out there with you and at the same time also a phenomenal teammate.''

      ''You could take away all his stats, and he'd still be invaluable for our team,'' [Chris] Perez said. ''He could not get a hit the rest of the year and still help us win. He's been such a huge boost for this team."

      O-Cab can be fiery for sure, but more often than not it has worked for the teammates he has played for.


      • ChipBuck July 19, 2011 at 6:01 PM #

        Teams don't win because of O-Cab. He just happens to be on teams that win. I love how those players can't tell them difference in a simple logical concept.

      • Drugs Delaney July 20, 2011 at 9:24 AM #

        Whether or not the fans gave OC a standing ovation or not is irrelevant. All that it means is he was perceived to have helped the Sox win a championship, he didn't leave the team under bad circumstances (although there were rumors), and he wasn't playing for the New York Yankees when he came back to Fenway. It also helped that his replacement, Edgar Renteria, was struggling.

        This is a funny quote: ''You could take away all his stats, and he'd still be invaluable for our team,'' [Chris] Perez said.

        OC's stats say he has been below replacement level. So if you took away his stats, he'd probably help the team more.

  5. ChipBuck July 19, 2011 at 5:59 PM #

    Simple answer is no. This season, he's a below replacement level player (-0.6 fWAR), and during the previous two seasons, he proved to not be worthy of starting PAs. He's a poor hitter that doesn't get on base or hit for power. His defense is mediocre, and his base running is league average. Really…what benefits does he bring? He's a significant downgrade from Scutaro, Lowrie, and Navarro.