The World Series has yet to begin, but the Marlins have already engaged in a major three-team transaction. The deal has Arizona receiving shortstop Cliff Pennington from Oakland, along with Heath Bell and cash from Miami. Oakland will receive outfielder Chris Young, while Miami will acquire the 22-year-old prospect Yordy Cabrera.
After an incredibly disappointing year, the Marlins found a way to cut ties with relief pitcher Heath Bell, and save a good quantity of money in the process. According to Marlins beat writer Juan C. Rodriguez, Miami will salvage $13 million out of the remaining $21 million on Bell's contract. Spent correctly, this money could acquire a player that easily outproduces Bell next season. Bell posted a 5.09 ERA in 63.2 innings pitched last year, which amounted to only 0.4 FanGraphs Wins Above Replacement.
While the Marlins will benefit enormously from dumping most of Bell's contract, they have also acquired an infield prospect in the trade. Marlins fans should not expect great things from Yordy Cabrera, however. The A's drafted Cabrera in the 2nd round of the 2010 draft, expecting a shortstop with large power potential and a strong arm. Thus far, only the arm has proved to be a reliable asset.
Some scouts felt that Cabrera's 6-foot-1, 205 pound frame would force him to move to third base or right field, but the A's have kept Cabrera at shortstop, which does improve his usefulness. Baseball America ranked him as Oakland's fifteenth best prospect prior to the season, noting his problems at the plate: "Cabrera battled inconsistency throughout his first full pro season. He tinkered with how far to spread out his feed in his stance and how much of a leg kick to use, and he tended to come off balance in his swing. He also pressed and tried to do too much, leading him to chase bad pitches." Their analysis was written before he graduated to the the California League (a league traditionally regarded as a hitter's paradise), and then produced an abysmal .232/.293/.332 slash line. Considering his poor performance, Cabrera will likely repeat high Class-A next year.