Just when you thought it was safe to let Dusty Baker manage the Reds lineup this year, it turns out there is another tragically OBP-terrible player for him to bat insanely high in the lineup. 35-year-old SS, Orlando Cabrera is Baker's new lineup-killer -- and he's batting right in front of the Reds best hitter, Joey Votto.
It shouldn't be a big surprise to the Reds that Orlando Cabrera is hitting like Willy Taveras this spring. After all, his career on-base-percentage (.322) is virtually identical to that of Taveras (.321). Last year, Cabrera's OBP was .316.
This spring, in 34 plate appearances, Cabrera's OBP is a woeful .286 so far. He has certainly looked the part at the plate - regularly swinging wildly at pitches well out of the strike zone. He has yet to hit a home run.
By comparison, last year's SS Paul Janish has an OBP of .388 this spring, with two home runs and a double. Janish is certainly no #2 hitter either. But the Reds do have another option -- an excellent one, in fact -- to bat second in the lineup.
Raising an additional horrible memory of Taveras was Cabrera's pathetic effort to bunt for a hit on Monday, with the ball stopping about a foot in front of the catcher.
To be fair, Cabrera has been excellent in the field this spring, turning in one of the best defensive plays on Monday, robbing Rockies catcher Miguel Olivo on a ground ball hit deep in the hole at SS.
Nonetheless, Cabrera's once sterling defensive reputation has taken a hit in the past couple of years, as he has aged. Last year he had the most errors (25) of any SS in the league. And out of the 31 shortstops who played at least 500 innings in 2009 he was ranked 29th based on the defensive statistic UZR/150.
BTW, the #1 rated SS in that category? Paul Janish, of course.