Rays Sign Asdrubal Cabrera | The Process Report

Rays Sign Asdrubal Cabrera

The Rays have signed infielder Asdrubal Cabrera to a one-year deal worth $8 million, according to various media reports.

Though the deal is surprising for obvious reasons—the Rays already employed multiple switch-hitting infielders who play second base, Cabrera’s presumable home—it is an otherwise likable, sensible agreement, and one that could look better before the winter ends.

Cabrera, 29 as of November 13, earns his keep at the plate. He’s been a durable, near league-average hitter over the past several seasons, thanks in large part to his well-rounded nature and lack of a platoon split. While Cabrera might not stand out for his production in any one area, he ought to pitch in across the board—hitting for a decent average, walking a healthy amount without striking out a ton, providing some power and stolen bases, and even taking plenty of bases on in-play advancement opportunities. His broad offensive game should help atone for his reputed substandard defense—a flaw that could be minimized by the Rays’ aggressive shifting. Overall, he projects as a solid everyday second baseman.

Because of Tampa Bay’s roster complexion, it’s worth considering that another move might be coming in time. Rumors about Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar’s availability have been present all along, and it’s hard to ignore how Cabrera’s contract is almost a perfect match for Zobrist’s. That doesn’t cement Zobrist’s departure yet, when paired with Escobar’s status as the only true shortstop on the roster, it seems probable that the longest-tenured Ray will be shipped to another team before the season begins. Nonetheless, it’s important to note that the Rays are not choosing Cabrera over Zobrist but, rather Cabrera and the return on Zobrist

Obviously everyone would like to see Zobrist—one of the best and most likable players in franchise history and, in many ways, the ideal role model for younger players—end his career in St. Pete. Still, there are valid arguments to make against committing too much money to a player entering his mid-30s—especially when his positions double as areas of organizational strength. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves just yet. There will be plenty of time to argue and reflect if and when it comes to that. For now, all we know is the Rays have added another talented player on a cheap one-year contract.



3 Comments

  1. John wrote:

    Since Cabrera has obvious diminished skills with defense, would it be a better fit if he was the DH? He provides a solid bat and could be employed as the occasional sub for players needing rest. The Rays haven’t had a solid bat at DH or a set DH in quite some time. Thoughts on him as the DH?

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