Which, oddly enough, brings me to Orlando Cabrera. He's an impending free agent whom the Twins will need to make a decision on in the near future. The rational side of my brain tells me there's no way he should be brought back. He'll turn 35 in less than two weeks. He's shown clear signs of decline defensively (the former Gold Glover posted a horrendous -9.9 UZR this season and earned the nickname "Cabrerror" by committing 11 errors in 57 games with the Twins).. And his .313 on-base percentage was a major liability in the No. 2 hole, where Ron Gardenhire seems fully committed to playing the shortstop whenever he's in the lineup.
These are all major red flags for anyone looking at the game with an analytical mindset. Yet, there's something deep inside me that -- for whatever reason -- likes having Cabrera on this team. While I fully believe that the notions of clubhouse chemistry and clutchness and veteran leadership are overrated to a degree, it's not so easy to downplay the positive impact that Cabrera had on the team after being acquired at the trade deadline. Coaches praised his attitude, teammates credited him with helping them become more comfortable, and fans embraced his gritty play and determination. Even though he encompasses a number of qualities I dislike in a ballplayer -- namely, playing poor defense at an important position and failing to reach base at an adequate rate while batting at the top of the lineup -- I can't deny that I enjoyed watching Cabrera play. It also didn't hurt to finally get some power from a middle-infield spot; Cabrera slugged .430 while with the Twins, which certainly stands out for a club that hasn't received a slugging percentage over .400 from the shortstop position since 2001.
Ultimately, I caved in to the rational side of my brain and opined that the Twins should let Cabrera walk this offseason. But I can't say I'd be all that furious if the Twins let their emotional side win out and bring him back on a one-year deal.