Thursday, May 7, 2009

On Daniel Cabrera

D-Cab is getting pummeled over at Nationals Journal today. I can understand it. I never said he was good, and he's a damn frustrating pitcher to watch.

But what's annoying me is that people are still talking about Cabrera as if he's some potential superstar who just lacks mental toughness. This analysis has been out of date for at least 3 years.

Cabrera is a really tall guy who like most really tall guys isn't all that coordinated. There's a reason that 7-footers are usually not very good free-throw shooters and ball-handlers. Watch him hit. He has about as much natural body control as I do. Yeah, there was a time when the could throw hard, but even that hasn't been the case for a while. As for his command, he just doesn't have any. Never has. Expecting him to suddenly start pounding the strike zone makes about as much sense as expecting Nook Logan to start hitting tape-measure homers. He can't do it. Not won't. Can't.

D-Cab is sitting on a 4.85 ERA (which is quite a bit better than 6.54, if you're looking for starting pitchers to rail about). That's a little lucky, but it's also a little better than what we had any right to expect. He's really doing exactly what anyone should have expected when we signed him, nothing more nothing less. If he was better than this, he would have gotten more than $2 million.

The biggest problem with Cabrera is that Manny's taking away his main virtue, his durability. This is a guy who has averaged 99 or more pitches per start since his second full season at 24. This year, Manny hasn't let him go past 94 pitches once.


Dave Nichols said...

it never ceases to amaze me how people STILL refer to Cabrera as having "potential". he is what he is...a lousy pitcher.

you will, of course, remember me railing on his signing as much, if not more, than your railing on Olsen.

Steven said...

Yeah, I think we agree on Cabrera totally. Still, I don't mind the Cabrera signing that much. We gave up 3 guys for Olsen. Cabrera's just a relatively low-risk signing. Not that different from Mike McDougal really. No draft picks, nothing--just a couple million bucks and one year. Whatever.

If you're expecting a replacement-level innings eater, then you might not be disappointed (though Manny's gotta let him go deeper in games).

And, of course, his ERA is 2 runs better than Olsen's.

Steven said...

I mean we agree on Cabrera's ability level. We clearly disagree on whether it was bad, good, or indifferent to spend 2 mil on a guy like that.

Dave Nichols said...

it's not my money, but it is my time and energy at the ballpark. unlike you, i still go :-)

looking forward to the 'Ron Villone era' starting tonight. hope Manny knows how to use him better than LaRussa did.

Steel36 said...

Cabrera is not a potential star. If he has not done it by now-will not happen.

Just frustrtating to see money spent on mediocrity like that.

Steven said...

I'll have you know I've been to 3 games this year!

Basil said...

The Cabrera-to-short-relief conversion, which seemed his ultimate destination (at least as an experiment) as far back as at least 2006, might have even sailed.

Now you're pretty much stuck with what you get. Cabrera pretty much sucks. But at least he never gets hurt. And there is some value of concentrating suckage into one starter rather than having to go with too much trial-by-suckage. Cabrera's pretty acceptable as a 5th starter, though the ERA is very misleading now and I have a morbid curiosity to see if the K/BB ratio could keep up the entire season.

As for Olsen, it's worth a try to keep him in the rotation and see if he rounds back into any kind of form. He is young, though I guess one could say Jerome Williams was (still) young in 2007.