The Oakland A's started spring with a crowded major league camp, with 63 players on-hand, the most…
A's Remake Infield
Cabrera immediately becomes the most likely candidate to start at shortstop for the A's, surplanting Bobby Crosby. He is also capable of playing second base, so if Mark Ellis isn't ready to go on Opening Day, the A's could use Cabrera at second and Crosby at short, assuming Crosby is still with the team. He has asked to be traded.
Cabrera has been in the majors since 1997, when he debuted with the Montreal Expos. Since then, he has played for the Boston Red Sox, the Angels of Anaheim and the Chicago White Sox. He has appeared in the playoffs every year since 2004, with the exception of the 2006 season. Cabrera actually surplanted Garciaparra in Boston in 2004 when he and Nomar were part of a big four-team deal between Boston, Montreal, Minnesota and the Cubs. Cabrera won a World Series with Boston in 2004.
In 2008, he played for the Chicago White Sox and hit .281 with 19 stolen bases and a .978 fielding percentage. This came despite his on-again, off-again feuding with Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen during the season. Cabrera is a two-time Gold Glove winner at shortstop, winning in 2001 and 2007. He appeared in 161 games for Chicago last season.
Garciaparra was once considered one of the elite shortstops in all of baseball, but injuries and age have moved him off of the position and into the corners. His health has been a major problem over the past five years, as he has had eight stints on the DL over that time-frame. He will be coming to Oakland with a bench role, which perhaps will keep him healthier throughout the season. He should play in the field at first and third base and DH some against left-handed pitchers.
Garciaparra spent the past three seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He hit .264 with eight homeruns in 55 games for the Dodgers last season. He is a .314 life-time hitter. Garciaparra won the AL Rookie of the Year award in 1997 with Boston, as well as two batting titles (1999 and 2000). Joining the A's marks a return for Garciaparra to the American League for the first time since July 2004.
The A's had one open spot on the 40-man roster, so they only needed to remove one player to make room for Garciaparra and Cabrera. The player moved was Yung-Chi Chen, who was outrighted to Triple-A Sacramento. The team announced that Chen, who was claimed by the A's off of waivers during the off-season, will remain in big league camp as a non-roster player. He is hitting a team-best .600 in five at-bats this spring.
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