With Didi Gregorius’ departure official, the Yankees have an absolute absence of information. Of course, it’s not really necessary since Gleyber Torres and DJ LeMahieu are able to manage the two mid-level spots. Having said that, more depth is always good. Tyler Wade or Thairo Estrada are intriguing players, but engaging someone with a higher plan would be a nice insurance policy. This is where Asdrúbal Cabrera could come into play.
Cabrera is a 13-year veteran of the grand league and has played for six different teams. He made his grand league debut with Cleveland as a 21-year-old in 2007 and also hit a home escape off Chien-Ming Wang in ALDS Game 1 in October. Ah, good times.
Before Cabrera arrived with Cleveland, he was initially in the Mariners’ agricultural system. Seattle signed Cabrera from Venezuela in 2002, but didn’t play in the United States until its minor league debut in 2004. Two years later, M gave Cabrera in Cleveland for Eduardo Pérez.
Cabrera played Jhonny Peralta’s second base in deference in his first two seasons, but Cleveland mixed the influence in 2009. Peralta moved to the hot corner, which opened the short for Cabrera. Asdrúbal was stuck there throughout 2014 before Cleveland exchanged it with Washington for Zach Walters.
After his midseason with the national teams, Cabrera rebounded from here on out. He signed a one-year deal with the Rays and then a two-year deal with the Mets (with a third-year club option that was exercised), was traded in mid-2018 with the Phillies and finally signed with the Rangers before the 2019 Campaign.
Cabrera fought in the state of Lone Star and was appointed for the assignment in August. It was then that Cabrera reunited with one of his former teams, the National team. As we will see in the exhibition section shortly, Washington was certainly happy to have it back. After a race in the championship, Cabrera is again a free agent.
The 34-year-old infielder is a .268 / .331 / .425 (105 wRC +) lifetime beater, which is good production for an average infielder. He had his two best offensive campaigns in 2011 (119 wRC +) with Cleveland and in 2016 (120 wRC +) with the Mets.
Entering in 2019, Cabrera was in the midst of a strong three-year run to the plate. Almost all that time with in Queens, along with a short stretch along the I-95 in Philly after the 2018 commercial deadline. During that time in East Holland, Cabrera hit .274 / .334 / .456 (114 wRC +) . It also affected 60 dinger, walked 7.6 percent of the time and hit only 17.9 percent of the plate appearances. An 82 wRC + in 185 appearances with the Phillies reduced those numbers a little.
The beginning of this season has been a severe recession for Cabrera. In fact, not just the beginning, but most of it. Cabrera replaced the legendary Adrián Beltré in Texas and paled in comparison. Not that nobody could really fill his shoes, of course. The Rangers unloaded Cabrera by August when it was hitting .235 / .318 / .393 (79 wRC +). This is when citizens brought Cabrera back to the nation’s capital for another period.
Although an abrupt sentencing period in Philly and Texas, Cabrera has not yet been done. In two months of play, Cabrera hit .323 / .404 / .565 (145 wRC +). And if he earned it:
Despite a good ending supported by strong expected statistics, Cabrera has never been a treasure of Statcast. The switch-hitter does not accumulate high output speeds or impressive impact rates. However, he remains a productive hitter because he does not accumulate high strike totals, is patient at the pot and has a minimum of power.
So Cabrera offers a solid offensive profile, but what about defense? After all, he would have played premium defensive positions for the Yankees, mainly second and shorttop. Unfortunately, Cabrera is below average in the center for DRS and UZR.
Another problem: he hasn’t played shorttop since 2018 and has only played 204 innings in the position that season. It may be too much to ask him to play there at this point in his career. Wade and Estrada can, although they can’t hit like Cabrera.
Cabrera hasn’t been on the injury list since 2017 and has been quite durable throughout his career. He has played no fewer than 131 games each season since 2011, and has appeared 141 or more games in five of those seasons. There have been some injury periods on the list, but nothing has challenged Cabrera for a long period of time.
Fangraphs’ crowdsourcing project has estimated a two-year deal worth $ 12 million. Neither The Athletic’s Jim Bowden nor MLB Trade Rumors have predicted the next Cabrera deal.
I don’t think Cabrera will get anything more than a one year deal this winter. He had a fantastic ending for 2019, but I don’t think a two-month hot streak following long stretches with Philadelphia and Texas is enough to make him one year longer. Jonathan Schoop, who is six years younger than Cabrera, has just signed a one-year contract for $ 6.1 million. I think it’s closer to what Cabrera will get.
Does it make sense to the Yankees?
Although his ability to play shorttop and general defense are a concern, he is one of the best offensive options on the midfield market. There is no way Cabrera can fill the void left by Didi Gregorius, but Cabrera can ease part of the absence felt by Didi’s club. Additionally, if defense is a real concern, the team can still take Wade or Estrada as the 26th man for a more reliable glove.