Originally Posted by Mohoney
Who would have been Oakland's shortstop in 2009 had they not signed Cabrera? Did Cabrera needlessly take at-bats away from anybody that might have had a future as the A's shortstop? If he did, then of course the plan was bad, but if he didn't, then the A's made something out of nothing.
Ladendorf didn't work out for the A's, but I still like the idea behind the moves. The A's turned a position where they had absolutely no immediate plan, or future plan for that matter, into a 21 year-old prospect at the deadline. In a go-nowhere season, small organizational victories like this are the only positives that can realistically be expected.
Without Cabrera, the A's would have gone with Cliff Pennington, who had been brought up at the end of 2008. As it turned out, he got another year in Sacramento, at least until the A's traded Cabrera.
Signing Cabrera was considered an idiotic move at the time by the Bay Area media. The Bay Area media also deemed the Ladendorf deal a salary dump the day of the trade. Part of the disbelief over the Cabrera situation from sign to trade was that the A's were crying poor. I doubt many A's fans even remember Ladendorf's name. Pennington is no longer with the A's as he was traded before the 2012 season, and he has developed into more of a utility infielder who plays a strong shortstop rather than an everyday shortstop.
Regardless, it wasn't considered a good move for a non-contending team at the time to sign a shortstop for $4 million to a one-year contract for the intention of trading him at the deadline. People who cover baseball pointed out at the time that players in the last year of their contract generally have very little trade value in July. There are exceptions, but Orlando Cabrera wasn't one of them, despite the Twins' need, and I don't see any free agent catchers this offseason who could be considered to be among them.