The Washington Nationals came into the 2010 offseason with a legitimate hole in the roster at second base. Lucky for them, the 2010 free agent class featured an abundance of capable middle infielders. Mark DeRosa, Marco Scutaro, Orlando Hudson and Felipe Lopez (admittedly unlikely to sign on for a return engagement in DC) were among the "big" names, but there were more than a few glove-first types: Adam Everett, John McDonald and Alex Gonzalez for starters.
As you'd expect, the Nats were linked to a number of these guys. DeRosa and Everett were acknowledged targets before they signed elsewhere. Hudson has been a constant presence, and Adam Kennedy surfaced recently as an alternative. But nowhere in all of this chatter has anyone uttered the name Orlando Cabrera. Until yesterday.
Know why nobody talks about O-Cab anymore? Because he's done. He was once (and I mean that literally, one year) a good hitter for a shortstop, but any value in his bat was tied to his position. And he hasn't been a good shortstop for a long time. That's okay though, because the Nats plan to move him to second base!
Orlando Cabrera has appeared in over 1700 major league games. He's played second base 33 times, most recently a 3-inning stint in one game in the year 2000. This is not a case of guy dusting off the old mitt and getting back in the groove. This would be a 36-year old learning an entirely new position for a new team in two months. Cabrera's an athlete and I'm sure he wouldn't embarrass himself, but what exactly is the supposed upside to this move? A Guzman-Cabrera middle infield? Surely you jest.
Maybe it's just an Orlando thing. Orlando Hudson playing hard to get? Sign Orlando Cabrera. In that case, I present the NTP-approved list of Alternative Orlandos (in order of preference):
- Orlando Jones - he played a wide receiver in The Replacements, he could fake second base.
- Orlando Bloom - recently named UNICEF goodwill ambassador, could help with international scouting.
- Tony Orlando - he don't love you (like I love you).
- Orlando Cabrera - more upside.
- Or... Lando Calrissian - yes, it's a stretch. Yes, I'd still prefer Billy Dee to O-Cab.