But, no, sadly it isn’t Asdrubal Cabrera. Nor is it Melky Cabrera. The Tigers picked up 23-year-old catcher Ramon Cabrera from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for once-promising “prospect” Andy Oliver.
February 28, 2012; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Andrew Oliver (43) poses for photo day in the rec room at the Detroit Tigers headquarters. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
I suppose it’s time for a little requiem for Oliver – though I was strongly in favor of dealing the guy last offseason or at any point during the season to somebody who saw some value in him as a potential late-inning reliever. He doesn’t have the pitch mix or the command – we have long been aware – to be a successful starter against decent hitters and the Tigers have plenty of other options in Toledo (and the big league club) as far as bullpen lefties go. And, seriously, even your ‘pen should throw an occasional strike, right??? Oliver – once upon a time – seemed to have so much promise… and a part of me will wonder if he was called up too soon. He didn’t seem to have much trouble throwing strikes in the minors until after his first cup of coffee, when he realized that he wasn’t going to be able to get big-leaguers on stuff alone.
You wouldn’t expect Oliver to fetch a premium prospect at this point and Ramon Cabrera is not a premium prospect. He is an offense first catcher with a career minor league OPS of .760 – but one which has steadily and disconcertingly fallen as he has advanced through the minors. He’s good-ish when it comes to the Ks and the BBs, but doesn’t seem to have anything in the way of power. It’s possible – at this point at any rate – that the Tigers view Cabrera as either organizational depth or as something of a minor league “reclamation project”, but it’s also possible that they’re going to give him a shot in spring training to earn the backup catcher job – or use him as a fallback plan should their other internal options for the role not pan out.