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Orlando Cabrera likely to sign with Reds, Rockies or Nationals

Jan 29, 2010, 1:48 PM EDT

MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports that Orlando Cabrera has narrowed his list of suitors down to the Reds, Nationals, and Rockies.
Cabrera hasn’t started at a position other than shortstop since he was a 23-year-old rookie in 1998, so if remaining there is a priority Cincinnati could be the pick. Troy Tulowitzki’s presence guarantees that he’d be purely a second baseman in Colorado and it’s unclear where Washington would play Cabrera, as the Nationals have a young shortstop in Ian Desmond and an old shortstop in Cristian Guzman.
Cabrera was sent from Oakland to Minnesota at the trading deadline and got tons of credit for the Twins’ dramatic turnaround after batting .411 with 21 runs and 16 RBIs over the final 16 games. However, he also hit a putrid .237/.268/.361 in his first 43 games with the Twins and batted .289/.313/.430 overall in Minnesota, which is very close to his modest .275/.322/.398 career line.
He’s likely to decline offensively at age 35 and Ultimate Zone Rating already shows him as losing several steps defensively, rating 15 runs below average at shortstop in 2009. He’s rated well defensively in the past, but Cabrera looked bad enough following the trade that Ron Gardenhire even admitted his range was lacking. In other words, the two teams that end up missing out on Cabrera probably shouldn’t feel too bad.

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