UPDATE 11:40 AM: Well that didn’t last long. Jon Heyman is reporting that the Rays are close to signing Cabrera, while Ken Rosenthal says that the deal is done pending a physical.
Sources: #Rays in agreement with Asdrubal Cabrera, pending physical.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 30, 2014
Last night on the MLB Network, Jon Heyman mentioned that shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera has been talking to some teams very serious at this point. Among the teams he listed were the Pittsburgh Pirates. He also mentioned the Yankees, Giants, Blue Jays and Rays, and I’ve read from other sources that the Phillies, Royals and Twins have also expressed interest, so it’s a crowded market for Cabrera.
In 2014, split between the Indians and Nationals, Cabrera hit .241/.307/.387 with 14 homers and 31 doubles in 146 games. He’s also known as a solid defensive shortstop, though Baseball-Reference has him as a negative dWAR for the first time in his career in 2013, so the 29-year-old could be losing a step. When he moved over to the Nationals at the trade deadline, Cabrera moved to second base, so he has some versatility.
While the Pirates were mentioned as a possible suitor for him, it doesn’t seem like a good fit. Some of these other teams are looking at Cabrera as a starter, while the possibility that Jung-Ho Kang signs, leaves a crowded infield even more crowded.
There is also the salary issue, with Cabrera making $10M last year. That’s fine for his production as a starter playing everyday, but as a bench option getting approximately 300 plate appearances, he would need to take a substantial pay cut. With as many teams that are showing interest in him, that doesn’t seem likely, especially if he can get a starter role somewhere.
The Pirates may be looking at Cabrera as a possible backup plan if they can’t come to an agreement with Kang. Or the interest they showed may have been prior to them learning they won the negotiating rights for Kang. As of right now, I wouldn’t consider them a front-runner for Cabrera, but the interest was(or is still) there.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.
I don’t profess to be a scout or have a scout’s eye and I recognize that a video tape only shows the best of a guy’s talents, but I watched the 16 minute clip of Kang and didn’t necessarily notice a problem with arm strength. However, given the grind of the MLB season maybe there’s always a concern as to whether a guy’s arm can handle an entire season at short.
Timely article: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/when-scouting-shortstops-gets-too-subjective/
Looks like this becomes moot…
John where in the world did you hear he’s a solid defensive shortstop? He’s definitively regarded as below average
Those were Heyman’s words on the show, though if you read just a little bit further, you’ll see I pointed out that he was a negative dWAR starting in 2013 and you have to be Derek Jeter-like at shortstop to be a -0.9 dWAR player
Hopefully this article is the last I hear about them signing Cabrera. I don’t see him as a cost effective addition. 2.1 total WAR for 16.5 mil the last 2 years. I wouldn’t want him for more than 1 year 6 mil…and he will surely get more than that.
Just for fun. What do people think Walker would fetch today if he were offered in trade ?
Probably one good, not great, prospect (B grade) and a couple low-level upside guys.
Seems low for one of the top three offensive 2nd basemen in MLB.
Top 3 ~ last year ~ with diminishing defensive value and escalating arbitration costs.
Howie Kendrick just pulled LHP prospect Andrew Heany, a guy I believe most would rate as a B+/A-, similar to Jameson Taillon.
How excited would you be to give up Jameson Taillon plus additional high upside talent for Neil Walker if you were a fan of another team?
I thought I was being generous with with potential return.
Last year the Jays wanted to trade Lind for Walker straight up, the Pirates said no.
The Pirates are always looking for better depth, in this case I would go with the possible back up plan if they don’t sign Kang. Offensively he is better than Rodriguez, but at a higher price, he is also on the downside of his career and the higher price tag does not equate to a bench option. I can’t see them being the winner with the rest of the teams that really need a SS in the mix.
Check the update at the top
Thanks, end of that conversation.
Cabrera might want to give Heyman a little bonus for getting the hype up by mentioning five teams last night because the Rays moved quick to get it done.
Wonder if guys like Heyman get kick-backs from agents for stirring things up or is it some kind of illegal. Seems like a part of baseball no one talks about, but marketing is huge.
Heyman’s “kickback” is access. Agents feed him information in exchange for getting things they want printed.
Cabrera’s career UZR/150 at SS is 10.6 runs below average. His Defensive Runs Saved per Year is 4.0 runs below average. At 2B, his career UZR/150 is -2.5. His DRS/year is +1.0.
At this point in his career, he is no better than Sean Rodriguez. In fact, Rodriguez’s ability to play 6 positions probably makes him a more valuable player than Cabrera. They have both had an OPS of about .700 over the past two seasons.
The “solid defensive shortstop” reputation is long gone. He did his part to contribute to the worst defense in the majors last year in Cleveland.
Yeah you have to be pretty bad to put up a -0.9 dWAR, that’s almost Derek Jeter bad which means you probably shouldn’t be at SS. Cabrera had some decent stats before 2014 though and most of his worst play came at second base.
I think a lot of static is generated by agents and other clubs just to create a club around some of these guys. I think that this is just noise and nothing else.
IMO, Cabrera as basically what Kang should be reasonably expected to be. The buccos really want to snag themselves up an infielder with some pop and they don’t care who knows it.
And I’m sure people still wanted to trade for Eovaldi 🙂
pr move to drive price of kang down.
rip55…I like your logo.
the 1909 world champion pittsburgh pirate logo.
Probably the most underrated pitching staff in baseball history. Their starters were Babe Adams, Howie Camnitz, Lefty Leifield, Vic Willis, Nick Maddox, Sam Leever and Deacon Phillippe. Their seventh starter would have been the 2-3 guy on a lot of teams
or drive the price of Cabrera up
Cabrera could also be helping them decide what’s Kang is worth. A “short stop” with some pop, who would have better defense at 2nd.
Now this one is a head-scratcher. Even if the Pirates don’t sign Kang, I don’t see the need for Cabrera and Rodriguez. Well, I guess cue the Neil Walker trade posts…