Tigers Potential Trade Target: Adrian Cardenas
By John Verburg
We have been looking for longer term solutions at 2nd base in particular at Motor City Bengals for a little while now. The list of options, at least the ones relatively close to the majors, is winding down. Today, I give you another one of those options in Adrian Cardenas. Cardenas, who has several times over been a Baseball America top 10 prospect for his team, seems to have been around forever. Despite that, Cardenas is still only 24 years old.
As a member of the Oakland A’s organization, he is clearly blocked by Jemile Weeks. Weeks, earlier in the off-season, was listed by Oakland to be the one guy that they would not be interested in trading. Cardenas can also play a little bit of 3rd base, however, with ex-Tiger Scott Sizemore having put up good numbers for Oakland after his arrival, I don’t see Cardenas playing there either. Cardenas could likely be available.
Follow me through the bump for a more detailed look at Cardenas……
Cardenas was originally drafted in the supplemental 1st round of the 2006 draft by the Philadelphia Phillies. In 2008, the Phillies sent Cardenas, along with pitcher Josh Outman, to the A’s in return for Joe Blanton. A left-handed hitter, Cardenas has never hit below .295 for an entire season.
In 2011, Cardenas spent his entire season in AAA with the Sacramento River Cats. He hit .314 on the year with an OBP of .374. Cardenas isn’t a slugger by any means, and only posted a slugging pct of .418, to give him an OPS of .791 on the season. The thing that really shows up as impressive for Cardenas is his BB/K ratio, which was 47/56. Cardenas has posted strong BB/K ratios throughout his career. He also stole 13 bases in 2011 as well, getting caught 6 times.
Cardenas’ numbers are indicative of his scouting reports. At 6’0 and right around 200lbs, he is a stocky player, but not physically strong. His main attribute is hitting for average, as he consistently squares the baseball to induce line drive contact. He possesses good bat control, and has excellent hand-eye coordination. He doesn’t have much of a stride in the batters box, so he doesn’t generate much power from his lower half. Cardenas’ short stroke allows him to use the whole field, and he does so against both right-handed and left-handed pitching. He doesn’t chase balls out of the zone a ton, so he could fit in nicely as a top of the order type, projecting to post a strong on base average. This obviously would fit with what Detroit is looking for offensively from a 2B. Cardenas isn’t the fastest runner in the world, and in the future he is going to slow down, but he does have good base running instincts. Right now, he could potentially get you 10-15 SB a season, though I suspect that won’t be the norm for his career.
Defensively, Cardenas is not going to be much more than solid. His range isn’t outstanding as his first step isn’t the quickest, and he has an average, but very accurate arm. He has good hands, and rarely makes errors on routine plays. I liken Cardenas’ defense at 2B to a slightly lesser version of ex-Tigers 2B Placido Polanco on the defensive side of things. He is more of a natural 2B than any of the other positions that he plays. Because of his body type, 5 years down the road, he may be forced to play 3rd base, where the bat profile might struggle a little because of the below average major league power. His range won’t work at SS either. Cardenas has played a little bit of outfield as well.
Cardenas does have some utility to the A’s as a utility player in the 2012 season, but that doesn’t mean that he couldn’t be available in a deal to fill another hole on that roster. I don’t see it taking a ton to pry Cardenas away from the A’s and he could be potentially gotten for a major league reliever. He is certainly a guy that the Tigers should at least take a look at in my opinion.
What do you think of Cardenas as a potential target?