Originally Posted by Mohoney
There is one other advantage that might present itself with signing a stopgap catcher to a 1-year deal, but it's kind of a risk. If the guy we sign puts up a nice first half, then a contender that needs a catcher at the trade deadline ...
The A's did that before they put together a winning team. They did that with Orlando Cabrera after his 2008 season with the White Sox. That was a down year for the A's, and everyone knew they were signing him to deal him to a contender midseason. When they traded him the Twins on July 31, 2009, they got minor league infielder Tyler Ladendorf in return.
Ladendorf was a second-round pick of the Twins in the June 2008 draft, so he had signed with the Twins only weeks earlier. Ladendorf is a six-year minor-leaguer who played a few games for AAA Sacramento last year. He also played a few games for Sacramento in 2011. He doesn't seem to have developed as a hitter.
If memory serves, Cabrera was having a pretty good season for the A's offensively and defensively when they traded him, and the Twins needed a shortstop. I recall Punto, Tolbert, Harris and Casilla playing shortstop for the Twins before Cabrera came to the team, and I think Cabrera, playing only in August and September led the team in innings at short. Still, all they gave up to fill a need in a tight divisional race was Ladendorf.
In general, I don't see teams giving up a lot at deadline to get players with only a couple of months left on their contracts even if it is to fill a need. I don't believe it's a gamble with a chance of much return. Maybe you can get more for a catcher because catchers do get hurt, and a contending team needs a catcher. But the fact that catchers can be banged up also contributes to the risk because the catcher you sign has a greater chance of getting hurt than other position players.