The Tampa Bay Rays have reportedly reached an agreement with 2B/INF Asdrubal Cabrera worth
an undisclosed amount (UPDATE: According to the New York Post, the deal is worth around $8 million) according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Cabrera split time between the Cleveland Indians and the Washington Nationals last season, leaving Cleveland for the first time in his career.
Last season, Cabrera batted .241/.307/.387 (96 OPS+) with 14 home runs and 61 RBI over 616 plate appearances. Known for his flashy yet ineffective defense, Cabrera caused lots of teams to move over him when searching for shortstops, with a defensive WAR of -1 and -10 defensive runs saved at second base with the Nationals. His offensive numbers have deteriorated significantly as well. After batting .270 or better for three years straight, Cabrera has been underperforming, hitting an average of .242 the past two seasons.
So what could Tampa Bay possibly see in a player that looks like he is clearly past his prime and average at best?
Tampa Bay is increasingly gaining a reputation for “flipping players” (as I like to call it). They’re taking in players that look past their prime, coming off of a bad year, or look like they’re generally sub-par and turning them into reliable and smart hitters for a few good years. If all goes well, Cabrera will slide into the 2B spot, giving the Rays much more flexibility in negotiations if a team is looking to add Ben Zobrist.
Over his 9-year career, Cabrera has hit .285/.340/.415 (106 OPS+) with 87 home runs and 451 RBI.