The Oakland A's offseason is now a resounding success. It just took them until two weeks into Spring Training for them to finish it though.
But the last major piece is now in place, as several sources are reporting that the A's have signed free agent shortsop Orlando Cabrera to a 1-year, $4 million deal. Per the terms of Cabrera's Type A restricted free agency, the A's will surrender a second round draft pick to the Chicago White Sox, plus a future supplemental pick.
The A's have made no announcement yet, and general manager Billy Beane is refusing to comment. Memo to Brad Pitt: If you're going to play Billy Beane in a major upcoming Hollywood movie, you had better learn to nail the line, "No Comment!"
Cabrera had been asking $9 million per year, but had to settle for $4 million from the A's because, well, no one else really appeared willing to pay him anything period.
Cabrera is a two-time Gold Glove winner who hit .281 with 57 RBI last year for the White Sox. It is believed that despite signing Cabrera, the A's will continue to pursue Nomar Garciaparra to back him up at short. Ironically, Cabrera was included in the trade that sent Nomar from Boston to the Chicago Cubs. Now Garciaparra may be backing up up the guy he was traded for.
Orlando Cabrera also has the distinction of having once sold a used pair of sweaty socks online for nearly $200. The socks he wore when he won the 2004 World Series with the Red Sox were sold on an online auction at MLB.com for $195. Unlike his Red Sox teammate Curt Schilling, Cabrera at least had the courtesy to not get the socks slathered in human blood.
With Crosby already on the roster and Nomar still out there, Billy Beane may have to jimmy some salaries and bruise a few egos. He got the shortstop he really wanted, yet now Beane has some very tough calls to make -- but that's why he gets paid the mid-range bucks.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who hopes they have Pauly Shore play him in the movie version of "Moneyball".