The Impact of Asdrubal Cabrera's Return to the Cleveland Indians

Jeff SmirnoffSenior Writer IJuly 17, 2008

The Cleveland Indians demoted IF Jorge Velandia to AAA Buffalo today.  Velandia was promoted when 2B Josh Barfield went on the DL after finger surgery.  Velandia played sparingly in a utility role as Jamey Carroll took charge of second base in Barfield's absence.

Reports have 2B/SS Asdrubal Cabrera returning to C-Town from Buffalo.  Other than my being able to use the "As-Man" moniker I saddled him with last season, it does present an interesting serious of questions for the Tribe.

Cabrera was sent down for his woes at the dish.  The sub-.200 average and poor plate approach were obvious to everyone.  He has responded by hitting well over .300 at Buffalo and it will be interesting to see how he responds to his re-exposure to major league caliber pitching.

The bigger question takes place in the field.  No one has questioned Cabrera's glove; it has been phenomenal.  Turning the DP smoothly, making all the throws and even an unassisted triple play are all on the As-man's resume.

However, while being the starting 2B at the start of the year, Cabrera has been primarily playing SS at Buffalo.  What does this mean for his return?

Jhonny Peralta is entrenched at SS and is swinging a hot bat since being moved into the clean-up spot.  Move him to 3B, you say?  Well, Andy Marte has recently been granted some playing time there and has shown signs of life after sitting on the bench for weeks at a time.  The Indians desperately need to get a read on Marte to see if he is a part of their future.

Even if he does go back to 2B what happens to Barfield when he comes off the DL?  An up-the-middle combo of Cabrera and Barfield is a pitcher's dream defensively, but can they generate enough offense for a team that is nowhere near an offensive juggernaut?

No matter how you slice it, it will be interesting to see how Eric Wedge handles the situation.  With Peralta in a comfort zone right now and Cabrera, Barfield and Marte needing playing time to be properly evaluated, there seems to be one too few spots.

This is where Uncle Eric will earn his keep during this lost 2008 campaign.  He needs to effectively utilize all four players to give the Indians the best chance to compete and contend in 2009.

It will be something to watch in an otherwise disappointing season, but for now..