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Anaheim Angels Blog of Los Angeles - Day

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

12:16AM - Orlando Cabrera

ON the Plus Side:
Cabrera is a contact hitter in the Bengie Molina mold - not a lot of strikeouts, maybe 12 homeruns batting .270 with 20+ doubles.

Cabrera's defense may be better than Eckstein's, but it is difficult to quantify and tough to definitively measure. But it is no worse.

Cabrera's durability is impressive. 153 games is the fewest he has played in a season in the past four years - and he is off the Montreal turf.

Eckstein's inconsistency was the straw that broke the camel's back - his value as a tablesetter in the lineup as much or more as his defensive contributions. He had missed over 60 games the past two seasons, and at 3 million a year, something about him had to be stellar beyond his character and personality. He excelled as a sacrifice hitter, but those are skills that are the easiest to replicate.

ON the Negative Side:
I'm bummed about Eck being gone. And worried he will be back to beat us somehow, some way, before we know it.

Immediate Fallout:
•Nobody besides David Eckstein will be affected by this between now and Spring Training.

•It might signal an interest in signing Derek Lowe (who benefits from solid defenders behind him), but we ardy got five starters who can pitch at least 5 innings.

•It also might reveal the interest Chone Figgins drew from other teams at the Winter meetings. If a healthy Kennedy returns midseason, look for Figgy to be the juiciest worm baiting Stoneman's blockbuster trade hook.

•It might mean a big trade with an emphasis on low-wage middle infielders is coming faster than we expect. Of course, having dumped Amezaga and Eckstein in the same week wouldn't indicate it. But these are the types of players you add on to a trade if you are dumping salary from elsewhere. Figgins and Erstad in a trade look more attractive than Erstad and almost anyone else.

Longterm Fallout:
We are deep at middle infield throughout the system. So deep that the logjam just has to create trade possibilities. In August we might need a veteran this-or-that by way of trading prospects. Our minor leagues are stacked with the type of prospects that bring in the names that push you past the finish.

So in the end, we just have to trust Stoneman.
So far he has yet to screw up in a way that has truly bit us in the ass.
Look at the four players he let go before 2004: Fullmer, Wooten, Spiezio and Schoeneweis. All of them had miserable post-halo seasons. That might be the writing on the wall for Eck's career.

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