It appears that Orlando Cabrera is headed for October baseball yet again. The infielder, who has appeared in four consecutive postseasons for four different teams, is going to San Francisco in exchange for outfield prospect Thomas Neal, the Indians announced.
With Mark DeRosa, Freddy Sanchez and Miguel Tejada on the disabled list, the defending World Champions needed infield depth. Cabrera, who will become San Francisco's primary shortstop, began the season as the Indians' everyday second baseman and has since transitioned into more of a utility role. The 36-year-old Colombia native has a .244/.277/.321 line in 344 plate appearances at second, third and short this year.
Meanwhile, the Indians will continue rely on rookie infielders Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall, two of the top prospects the Indians did not send to Colorado in the deal that will send Ubaldo Jimenez to Cleveland.
Neal, 23, has spent the 2011 season at Triple-A Fresno, where he has a .295/.351/.409 line. Baseball America ranked him 96th among all MLB prospects before the 2010 season and seventh among Giants prospects before the 2011 season. Neal, who played on a youth travel team with Mike Leake, Stephen Strasburg and the son of Giants manager Bruce Bochy, has an enviable combination of power and arm strength, according to Baseball America, which suggested he could become an everyday player. However, Neal has seen his power numbers decline this year (13 doubles, two homers, .409 slugging percentage).
Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com broke the news and Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle added detail.