Giants Get Orlando Cabrera, Lose Thomas Neal

Tom DubberkeCorrespondent IJuly 31, 2011

I don’t like this trade nearly as much as I liked the Carlos Beltran deal, or for that matter, the Jeff Keppinger trade.  The Giants gave up too much for a player who doesn’t look like he has much left.

Giants’ GM Brian Sabean is thinking Orlando Cabrera is a proven winner (six previous trips to the post-season) and his crappy year in Cleveland is the result of playing in the superior American League.

I don’t agree.  Cabrera was awful with the bat (.657 OPS) in Cincinnati, a much better place to hit than San Francisco, in 2010; and his .598 OPS so far this year in Cleveland suggests he’s a 36 year old with nothing left.

It smacks of a desparation move, with Mike Fontenot struggling, Brandon Crawford clearly over-matched in his first season in the Show, and Emmanuel Burriss playing so poorly he’s deservedly back at AAA Fresno.  However, I just don’t see Cabrera giving them anything more than they’d get from Fontenot, on either side of the ball.

Part of my irritation is that I feel like the Giants are trading away Thomas Neal when his trade value is at a relative low.  After three fine minor league seasons in a row (at least, if you take park factors into consideration), they’re sending him away in a year in which he’s been battling injuries.

Despite the injuries this year, Neal is still hitting .295 at AAA, and he doesn’t turn 24 until mid-August.  He’s going to be a major league player, at least as good as Freddie Lewis and possibly better.

If Cabrera plays reasonably well for the Giants and helps them make the post-season and then some, the trade makes sense.  I have a feeling, though, the Giants will make the post-season in spite of Cabrera rather than because of anything he adds.