Thursday, March 4, 2010

The first Victoria Seal of 2010: Caonabo Cosme

On the same day the Victoria Seals announced that they were parting ways with manager Darrell Evans (and coach Dan DiPace), the team also announced that they had signed their first player for the 2010 season. That player is a 31-year-old Dominican, Caonabo Cosme.

Cosme started out in the Oakland A's organization back in 1997 as an 18-year-old shortstop. He has bounced around the minors, having spent time with the minor-league affiliates of the Cardinals, Yankees, Reds and Tigers. He has moved to third base late in his career, but he has also played a significant amount at second. 

Cosme suited up for his first season of independent baseball last year. He began 2009 on the roster of the Schaumburg Flyers of the Northern League, but was released on June 15th. He was immediately picked up by Calgary, but lost his job when the Vipers acquired Wilver Perez in an August 27th trade with the Victoria Seals.  The Golden Baseball League web site claims that Cosme was lost due to a season-ending injury, but given that Calgary only had three games remaining in their season, it's more likely that they were simply upgrading defensively at third base in preparation for the playoffs.

In 124 at-bats with the Vipers, Cosme hit an impressive .387 with 7 homers and 28 RBI and he posted a gaudy .621 slugging percentage. Although Cosme did not have enough at-bats to qualify for the batting race, his average and slugging percentage ranked second in the GBL, behind only league MVP Nelson Castro.

However, as his career .917 fielding percentage as a minor-league third baseman attests, he's no Brian Rios at the hot corner. If the Golden League hadn't dumped the Designated Hitter rule for 2010, he'd be a perfect candidate to fill that role. Given that the speed of his youth has long since departed (he hasn't stolen a base since 2007), he'll only be used sporadically in the middle infield and third base will have to be his regular position.

Now how many days until opening day?

[Update on March 27th: It now appears that Brian Rios will in fact return to the Seals for the 2010 season and Cosme will be used as a middle infielder]