Cabrera, Parrino battle to make the Padres roster


Andy Parrino, right, looks like he has a chance to break camp with the San Diego Padres. (Kent Horner/Getty Images)

The San Diego Padres currently have a few nice battles for roster spots in spring training, including the one for back-up utility infielder. At the start of camp, it seemed like Everth Cabrera‘s spot to lose. Cabrera has the MLB experience you want to see in a utility role. Although he’s had a plethora of injuries, including last year, he did show strong promise as a Rule-Five player in 2009.

Cabrera was exciting to watch, and he looked like he had the makings of a Rafael Furcal-type player (his idol growing up). In 2009, seeing as he was a Rule-Five player, the Padres had to either keep him on the roster all year or send him back to the Rockies. Well, he played well, and it was fun to watch and wonder what kind of player he could develop into. After hitting .255, with 18 2B, 8 3B, and 3 HRs for the Friars that season, it seemed only the sky was the limit. However, he’s only regressed. Now, of course, the aforementioned injuries have played a big role, but even when he appears healthy, he is so inconstant, it’s incredibly frustrating — whether it’s because of mental gaffs or being overly aggressive on the base paths or at the plate for the type of hitter he is (not of the power variety). He needs to utilize his speed by cutting down on the strikeouts, putting the ball into play and being consistent defensively. Playing within his game — small ball.

His competition? The versatile Andy Parrino. Parrino also had a strong showing last year with the minor-league affiliates for the Padres. Also, he came up and had cup of Joe with the big-league team late last year, in part due to injuries to other players. The coaches seem to love his work ethic and drive — he has a “ballplayer” mentality. You know, hustle your tail off, get dirty and do whatever the team asks of you. Parrino batted only .184 for the Friars in limited duty last year, in only 44 AB. However, Parrino’s rave reviews from the triple-A coaching staff is what led him to get a serious look. In double-A San Antonio, Parrino batted .303/.388/.539 with 7 2B, 1 3B, 9 HR, 22 BB and 40 K. Upon being called up to triple-A Tucson, Parrino continued to flourish. He batted an impressive .327/.399/.484 (albeit in the notorious hitter-friendly PCL league) with 12 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 24 RBI, 16 BB and 25 K in 153 AB, only one more at-bat than he had in double-A.

This spring, both players are looking to break camp on the 25-man roster for the Padres. Thus far, while neither one are head and shoulders the clear front runner based on spring-training stats, it seems like both have good cases to make the team.

Cabrera is batting .227/.227/.227 this spring, with five hits, none of the extra base hit variety, 1 RBI, 3 K, 0 BB in 22 AB. He is also two-for-three in SB attempts. Cabrera has only made one error this spring which is encouraging, but in close to half as many innings as Parrino. For example, Parrino has made two Errors, but in 87 innings to Cabrera’s 55 innings.

Parrino isn’t exactly tearing the cover off the ball, but he’s having good at-bats. He’s hitting.242/.286/.424 with eight knocks, two of the HR variety, 2 BB and 4 K, while going two-for-two in stolen-base attempts. He’s doing the little things that separate you from being a player collecting a check and a team player. No, I’m not suggesting Cabrera is a selfish player, only that his aggressive style might hurt him. It’s not uncommon that a box score doesn’t tell the whole story, but Parrino has been impressive. You can see how both players are similar in their showing this spring. There is not a huge discrepancy to divide them, but Cabrera has also had shoulder tightness, which could give the edge to Parrino.

All in all, it’s great to watch these kids battle in spring training. Barring injury, one of these players will make the 25-man roster. In my evaluation, I believe Parrino has earned a spot over Everth. To me, he’s the safer, more constant choice to being an ideal back-up middle infielder.

10 Comments

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  1. I agree there are arguments for both players making the 25 man roster but I think I would go with Parrino ! He is a team player that loves the game and with his lack of experience, he is only going to get better in the field and especially at the plate. He has proven he can hit so the more at bats you give him, the better he will get. 5 home runs this spring shows he has some power and he has not had sufficient time to see what he can really do. He has made some unbelievable plays in the field and his consistency will improve. In short , he has shown he has all it takes and with his work ethic, he will continue to improve. I can see him being a starter sooner than later!!!!

  2. Nice job of presenting a good argument for both players. I like that! But you picked the wrong guy. Cabrera is a proven shortstop, while Parrino is not. Everth is also better at second base, a true “up the middle” guy. Andy plays a good third base, but that’s a crowded spot for the Padres.

    Cabrera and Parrino are both good base runners, but Cabrera is faster. He also has more big league and international experience. Everth’s injuries have been a problem, and he nursed a minor shoulder problem this spring, as you noted. But even with less playing time than Parrino, he has come off the bench and produced, which is what a utility player is supposed to do. Cabrera can also play the outfield, which could help in the absence of Carlos Quentin. Andy’s only “cup of joe” out there was at the low minor league level.

    It’s pretty much a toss-up with these two guys, as it is with Blanks and Clark. So you have to go with experience and overall ability. I can understand why you and other fans favor Parrino, because he’s a scrappy guy and works hard. He’s the underdog to make the team. But Cabrera “gets dirty” too. He’s the young veteran in this scenario, and has the clear edge in overall talent.

    Tag…you’re it.

    1.  “Nice job of presenting a good argument for both players.”

      Thanks Steve.

      “But you picked the wrong guy.”

      We’ll see. The more I here the management compliment Parrino, the more I think the bias may play out in his favor.

      “Cabrera is a proven shortstop, while Parrino is not.”

      Neither are. Cabrera’s one season would hardly put him in the proven SS category.

      “Everth is also better at second base, a true “up the middle” guy. Andy
      plays a good third base, but that’s a crowded spot for the Padres.”

      That’s very debatable. Both are very versatile players. Everth has that “it” factor, but is too inconsistent. The battle is closer than people realize. It could easily go either way. And, I would be happy with either.

      “But even with less playing time than Parrino, he has come off the bench
      and produced, which is what a utility player is supposed to do”

      Yes, but only if he can be consistent. That has been a problem for him. Along with mental errors. being overly aggressive. That could play against him.

      “Cabrera can also play the outfield, which could help in the absence of Carlos Quentin.”

      So can Parrino. In fact, Parrino has much more experience than Cabrera overall. Having said that, that argument is moot. Neither player would get reps in the OF for C-Q over the other candidates.

      “It’s pretty much a toss-up with these two guys, as it is with Blanks and Clark”

      Clark is not on the 40-man roster. So, Blanks will be the guy barring health, not Clark.

      “I can understand why you and other fans favor Parrino, because he’s a scrappy guy and works hard.”

      Actually, I have favored Everth because of some of the things you mentioned. However, from things I have heard, I think they may lean the other direction.

      1. The fact that Cabrera is a proven middle infielder with a higher level of experience than Parrino is really not debatable. Did you forget that Everth was a star for Team Mexico when they won the Caribbean Baseball Classic two years ago? Yes, he has been inconsistent in the past. But this spring, he has taken advantage of every opportunity, and has looked solid. So has Parrino, but he has a much lower ceiling than Cabrera. And as I mentioned, Everth also has the advantage in overall speed, which would enable him to come off the bench and steal a base in a critical game situation.

        Unfortunately, I agree that management has shown a bias toward Parrino, with no apparent reason except that he is the likeable underdog. Both kids play hard and lead by example, and I just don’t see where Parrino has any clear edge over Cabrera in any aspect of the game. Everth, on the other hand, has a slight advantage in a couple of different areas.

        As for Clark, there are several players who could be bumped off the 40-man to make room : namely Hamren or Vincent. But that’s a conversation for another day.

        1. “The fact that Cabrera is a proven middle infielder with a higher level of experience than Parrino is really not debatable”

          You said proven middle infielder. I said neither one was. Which is true. It’s also debatable which is the better sound defender.

          “Did you forget that Everth was a star for Team Mexico when they won the Caribbean Baseball Classic two years ago?”

          Which has zero to do with his MLB experience or who is, or will be the better overall player.

          “Yes, he has been inconsistent in the past. But this spring, he has taken advantage of every opportunity, and has looked solid.”

          I agree to some degree. He’s been pretty solid. I’m not sure if stealing third base with two outs plays in his favor. He did that the last couple springs. The Padres are known to be aggressive, so maybe it’s just an over analysis on a spring game. However, again he’s been criticized for his mental lapses, and over aggressiveness. Some this spring by from what I’ve heard.

          “So has Parrino, but he has a much lower ceiling than Cabrera.”

          I agree, but a consistent back-up is more important than ceiling.

          “And as I mentioned, Everth also has the advantage in overall speed,
          which would enable him to come off the bench and steal a base in a
          critical game situation.”

          That’s the only real stand out advantage, speed. Also, Cabrera hasn’t been consistent stealing the bases either. He’s put on more muscle mass than before and is not as fast as he was in 09. Too aggressive. Parrino also has more pop, and handles that bat well. His patience (which is a pretty hard emphasis by the padres this year) could play towards Parrino. The Padres like Parrino’s Ab’s more than Cabrera’s, from what I hear.

          “Unfortunately, I agree that management has shown a bias toward Parrino,
          with no apparent reason except that he is the likeable underdog.”

          I think there is a valid reason. Some of which I have touched on. Possibly even character. I sure hope not! although, Byrnes talked highly of Cabrera in the off-season, so I’m not sure there is a bias per se, other than what they see on the field.

          “Both kids play hard and lead by example, and I just don’t see where
          Parrino has any clear edge over Cabrera in any aspect of the game.”

          As I said before, I would be happy with either one. I think it’s that close. That’s why I wrote this particular piece. I like Cabrera and have been one of his biggest supporters. Having said that, the only clear advantage, is speed which has also been very inconsistent for him. Parrino is 2-2 in SB attempts in ST by the way.

          “As for Clark, there are several players who could be bumped off the
          40-man to make room : namely Hamren or Vincent. But that’s a
          conversation for another day.”

          Again, it’s a moot argument. Blanks will be playing games in LF barring health. Bud Black has already said he will be getting time there. A RHB goes down like Quentin, they want a possible RHB run producer. Clark is (as I’m sure you know) a LHB. Kotsay would even get Ab’s over Clark. Which Black mentioned. Guzman, Blanks, Denorfia and Kotsay. I’m sure Guzman will get the lions share of time, depending on how poor his defense plays in spacious Petco park.

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