Let's just start with the obvious: Orlando Cabrera sucks, and he does nothing for this team. There was no reason to get him. Zero. He's old and bad; the best thing that can be said is he's cheap. And he's cheap for a reason: he sucks. It may seem like I'm repeating myself, but I hope Brian Sabean reads this and on the tiny chance he does I want to make it perfectly clear: Orlando Cabrera is a bad player.
What's worse, though, is that he's Miguel Tejada. Seriously. They are identical players this season, and Miggy's actually been slightly better. Here's what I mean:
G PA H HR RBI SB BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Fld Bsr WAR
Tejada: 82 322 73 4 28 4 3.7% 9.6% .093 .255 .242 .274 .334 .260 59 1.5 -1.2 -0.1
Cabrera: 90 344 79 4 34 6 3.8% 11.6% .077 .265 .244 .277 .321 .268 66 -7.2 0.6 -0.6
It's not just that their slash lines are the same. Their BB% and K% are the same. Their BABIPs are the same. Tejada's defensive numbers are actually better, likely the primary driver of a 0.5 WAR advantage, which would be impressive if he was above replacement level; Cabrera can also still play short according to UZR, as Tejada derives his value from 2B/3B and Cabrera has terrible numbers when not playing SS. Their wOBAs are the same. They're both right-handed hitting over-35 shortstops who should probably retire. Their G, PA, H, HR, R, and SB numbers are almost identical. Hell, Cabrera is 5'10", 194 pounds and Tejada is 5'9", 210 pounds.
The only perceptible difference I can find are in their RBI and LD%. Cabrera's got 38 RBI to Tejada's 26, and a 20.1% LD% compared to 13.3%. Tejada is also on the DL, though unless his injury is much worse than everyone thinks it is that shouldn't matter as he would be back pretty soon.
Therefore there can be only four possible reasons why the Giants decided to trade their highest-level OF prospect for a carbon copy of Tejada:
1. They think they're getting a "proven RBI man". Cabrera's 38 ribbies dwarf Tejada's 26. If this is the case all hope is lost.
2. They realize Cabrera's BABIP is actually lower than it should be given his high LD% and are buying low on an infielder who might not be done and can actually play shortstop. If this is the case I will prance with joy, but excuse me if I don't start stretching quite yet.
3. Tejada is going to be out much longer than we originally thought and the Giants just could not survive without a 36/37-year-old RHH SS with a wOBA in the .260 range so they got another one.
4. Thomas Neal is completely done due to injuries or just being bad and/or we have a glut of outfielders at the major league level and Sabean wanted to get what he could before Neal's value fell further. He was reminded of the absent Tejada's haunting musk while scouting Cabrera.
I don't get it. Cabrera's xBABIP is almost certainly close to .300 with the 20% LD%, but something tells me that's not why Sabean bit, and I think it's rationality coupled with history. Neal may indeed be a 4th OF, but he showed in San Jose he's capable of much more, and selling low (or what appears to be low) on him doesn't make much sense. Even if Neal is nothing and Cabrera is primed for a bounceback, it doesn't make sense that Cabrera would cost anything given the year he's had so far. The fact that Cleveland just got Ubaldo Jiminez means they're trying to make a run this year, and that they would trade Cabrera away should tell us all we need to know: he's not a piece of a playoff team.