A bit more comprehensive view of the trade:
Traded IF Alex Cora to the Boston Red Sox for IF Ramon Vazquez
Optioned IF Ramon Vazquez to Buffalo (AAA)
The move can correctly be called a salary dump. Cora is the better fielder, especially at shortstop, but given what Jhonny Peralta has been doing, Cora was a luxury the Indians didn’t really need. So they dealt Cora and the rest of his salary to the Red Sox for Vazquez, a cheaper utility infielder. A cursory look of Vazquez’s career stats shows the ability to take a walk, along with a bit of speed. Besides that, he looks like a backup infielder out of central casting. He played quite a bit of shortstop in 2003 with the Padres, but was dealt (in the Dave Roberts-Jay Payton trade) with the arrival of Khalil Greene. In Boston, he didn’t play much at all, and when did get in the lineup, it was garbage time. Like Cora, Vazquez hits left-handed. Apparently, the plan is to let Vazquez get some ABs in Buffalo, see if he starts to hit, and then bring him up to fill Cora’s old role. Second base looks like Ramon’s best position; he can play short, but not real well.
Where does this leave Brandon Phillips? I have no idea. If the Indians just make him a utility infielder, it would decrease some of his trade value. They seem to be leaning towards picking up Ronnie Belliard’s 2006 option, and Peralta isn’t going anywhere after what he’s done this year. The Indians have been after Vazquez for some time, and tried to get him from San Diego last winter. They seem to see him as their utility infielder going forward, especially given his platoon split against right-handers. As far as Phillips is concerned, he’s blocked at both positions, and he may be blocked by Vazquez for the utility role. This leads me to believe that Phillips is trade bait this July, and if not, certainly he’d be trade bait this winter.
Recalled RHP Fernando Cabrera from Buffalo (AAA)
Cabrera was the end to the string of events started by Rafael Betancourt going on the Disabled List. He’s acquitted himself fairly well, with only a Jeter home run marring his record. He’s being used in low-pressure situations now, but may work himself up the leverage ladder if pitchers ahead of him get dealt or get injured.
Recalled LHP Brian Tallet from Buffalo (AAA)
A short-term fix given who the Indians are facing. Tallet was scheduled to start on Thursday for the Bisons, so he could give the Indians some innings if one the starters gets knocked out during the weekend. Heck, maybe this time he’ll actually get to pitch!