Hey, remember yesterday when I said that even though I think Orlando Hudson is a good player who might help the team, the cost of giving up the 1st round pick was too high of a price to play for one year, so let’s pass? What about giving up a 1st round pick for an older player who’s not as good?
PHOENIX — The Dodgers, apparently uncertain they can work a deal for second baseman Orlando Hudson, have also begun talks with free-agent infielder Orlando Cabrera.
Cabrera, a two-time Gold Glove shortstop, told the club he would be willing to move to second base, where Blake DeWitt came to camp as the heir apparent to the retired Jeff Kent. Shortstop is locked up by Rafael Furcal, who signed a three-year deal, although Cabrera would provide insurance if Furcal was injured again.
This makes even less sense. While the 1st round price tag is what’s making me want to avoid Hudson, I at least admit that he’s a productive player who would be a short-term upgrade on the unproven Blake DeWitt at 2B – fine.
But Cabrera? Well, first of all, he’s not a second baseman. Oh sure, he says he’s willing to play it, but he’s only got 33 games of experience there, and no real time put in since 1998. Even worse, look at his bat. There’s no comparison between the Orlandos – while Hudson improved his OPS+ for the 4th straight year to 108, Cabrera declined to an 84 OPS+, making him 16% worse than the average AL hitter last year. In fact, he’s only been league average once in his career – way back in 2003 – and at 34, that’s unlikely to change now.
And that’s really the main point. Again, while he’s not worth a top pick, Hudson is likely to be better than DeWitt in 2009. Not only is Cabrera not better than Hudson, he’s not even better than DeWitt! Who’s more likely to produce in 2009? The 34 year old coming off an 84 OPS+ season, or the 23 year old coming off an 91 OPS+ season? Forget the salaries or the picks involved, DeWitt was a better player last year and he’s likely to be so this year. There’s an argument to be made for bumping him for Hudson; there is no such argument to do the same for Cabrera.
To recap, the second base rankings are as such: DeWitt + keeping 1st round pick + no additional salary > Hudson - 1st round pick > Mark Loretta + keeping 1st round pick + no additional salary > Tony Abreu + keeping 1st round pick + no additional salary > Ivan DeJesus Jr. + keeping 1st round pick + no additional salary > Orlando Cabera – 1st round pick.
I didn’t want to spend a 1st round pick on Hudson, and he’s clearly better than Cabrera. Why would we want to waste a 1st round pick on him?