The Twins pulled the trigger before the trade deadline on Thursday, sending infield prospect Tyler Ladendorf to the Oakland Athletics for shortstop Orlando Cabrera. A mid-level prospect, Ladendorf was ranked as high as the 30th best prospect in the system by some publications, and was currently a member of the Beloit Snappers. Before heading to Beloit, Ladendorf batted over .400 for the Elizabethton Twins.
In Cabrera, the Twins pick up a legitimate starting shortstop, and one of the better gloves in the American League. On the season, Cabrera was batting .280 in 100 games for the Oakland Athletics, and had hit four home runs. A two-time Gold Glove winner, Cabrera was in his first season with the Athletics, after signing a one-year contract with the team in March.
This month, Cabrera has been on fire, batting over .375 in July. He also will likely slide into the number 2 spot in the Twins order, a spot that has been terrible for the team all season long. Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau will only benefit from this move.
The move now enables Brendan Harris to move to either second base or third base, making him less of a critical defensive player for the team. Harris, who is having a decent season for the Twins, is currently in a bit of a slump, but a move to second or third should take some of the pressure off of him at the plate.
This is the first trade deadline move that the Twins have made since 2003, when they got Shannon Stewart and Dave Gassner from the Toronto Blue Jays for Bobby Kielty. The Twins now have a pretty crowded infield, and they likely will move Alexi Casilla back to Rochester. Another big question will be how to split time between Buscher, Punto, and Harris, all of whom will see their playing time cut with the addition of Cabrera.
A second round pick in 2008, Ladendorf was one of the top middle infield prospects in the Twins organization, with a pretty high ceiling. The Athletics are getting a very good player, and more importantly, a good kid who wants to succeed.