A trade that saved some money made the Cincinnati Reds' next shortstop affordable.
The Reds sent center fielder Willy Taveras to the Oakland Athletics on Monday as part of a four-player deal, then agreed to a $3.02 million, one-year deal with Orlando Cabrera to become their starting shortstop. Both teams made a series of moves that changed the looks of their rosters.
Along with Taveras, the Reds sent infielder Adam Rosales to the A’s for infielder Aaron Miles and a player to be named. Oakland was busy as well, agreeing with outfielder Gabe Gross on a $750,000, one-year contract and claiming infielder Steve Tolleson off waivers from Minnesota.
Once the A’s got Taveras, they designated him for assignment, along with left-hander Dana Eveland, to create space on their 40-man roster for the newcomers.
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“I think we’ve been able to do some things to improve our club where we weren’t too sure we would be in position to do that,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. “A lot of it was being patient and waiting for the market to drop to our level, where we could afford to do some things.”
Cabrera got a deal that pays him a $1.25 million signing bonus and $770,000 salary this year. The agreement includes a $4 million mutual option for 2011. If Cabrera declines it, he gets a $500,000 buyout. If he accepts it and the team declines, he receives a $1 million buyout.
Cincinnati traded shortstop Alex Gonzalez to Boston last August, leaving the position to Paul Janish, a solid defensive player who batted .211.
Several teams were interested in Cabrera as a second baseman, making the Reds a more attractive destination because he could play his preferred position.
“A little bit,” Cabrera said. “But I think the challenge of the Reds is better for me.”
The 35-year-old shortstop played for Oakland and Minnesota last season, batting a combined .284 with 36 doubles, nine homers and 77 RBI in 160 games. Cincinnati expects to bat him second, with 25-year-old Drew Stubbs in line to bat leadoff now that Taveras is gone.
“I’m going to do everything I can, even if I have to change my name to One Ocho,” Cabrera said, referring to Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco.
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