Giants Make Another Move, Add Cabrera
Now, don't get me wrong, Cabrera is an upgrade over what the Giants are currently trotting out to shortstop each night, but only slightly, and I think they could have packaged Neal up to get someone of more value. Thomas Neal (pictured) isn't an A-prospect, but he's no slouch, and with Cody Ross, Pat Burrell and Carlos Beltran all coming off the books next year, the Giants could have used the extra insurance in the outfield. While the Beltran deal does get an A in my book, this one is more like an average C, C+ move. Cabrera's numbers are pretty identical to those of Miguel Tejada's, and his defense isn't as good as Brandon Crawford's. He's hitting a modest .244 with 4 homers and 38 RBI and was slowly losing playing time to rookie Jason Kipnis. My guess is that Cabrera will come in and hit in the lower part of the order, either 7th or 8th, and although the Giants could still go after an upgrade behind the plate, I don't see them doing anything else between now and tomorrow's 1PM deadline. There were a couple other names floating out there linked to the Giants as well, and they were Baltimore first basemen Derek Lee (since dealt to the Pirates) as well as Houston Astros center fielder and leadoff man Michael Bourn but I just don't see anything else serious materializing. They could get a backstop before the waiver deadline of August 31st, but I'd expect closer to Pudge Rodriguez than Ramon Hernandez.
Something tells me Sabean watched these first two games in Cincinnati and made the decision that he wanted to add more offense to shortstop without getting a big drop off in defense from Brandon Crawford. Tejada is becoming a defensive liability out there and this move allows him to move around the infield and be more of a utility guy. The Giants had thoughts of adding Cabrera this winter too, but felt they'd get more offense out of Tejada and added him instead. Should be interesting to see if Cabrera will be in Cinci Sunday for the Giants finale. The one area where Cabrera will absolutely help, and is probably a large reason why the Giants got him, is in the clubhouse and during pressure situations down the stretch. He's a guy who's been to the postseason 6 different times and knows how to play on that stage. I don't think the Giants would have felt comfortable trotting Brandon Crawford out there in a potential NLCS game as he's still trying to get his legs under him at the big league level. He's been great defensively, but his sub-.200 average left too much to be desired offensively. Not that Cabrera is a whole lot better, he's a vet and the Giants are pining hopes that he'll be their "Edgar Renteria" in October this year.