Asdrubal Cabrera signs one-year deal with Tampa Bay Rays


Asdrubal Cabrera and the Tampa Bay Rays have agreed on a one-year deal. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports has reported the story. The amount of money hasn’t been reported as of yet.

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For the 29-year-old Cabrera, this deal speaks to a couple primary aspects. First, the middle infielder probably didn’t receive the multi-year offer he initially coveted. Jed Lowrie received less money than expected, Stephen Drew isn’t attracting major interest and Cabrera was on the market for a prolonged period. Perhaps these middle infielders were deemed less valuable than initially projected.

This deal also gives Cabrera the opportunity to greatly improve his free agency stock for 2016. In 2014’s combined time with the Cleveland Indians and Washington Nationals, he hit .241 and belted 14 home runs. In 2011, the young infielder earned an American League All-Star selection with the Indians, hitting 25 home runs and driving in 92 runs. However, from that point, he has regressed a bit – hitting no more than 16 long-balls in a single season.

He was a 1.7 WAR player according to FanGraphs and has suffered extensively on the defensive side. His arm strength, accuracy and various other aspects of his abilities at shortstop and second base ranked below average clips. Given his decreasing numbers, inconsistent power and poor defense, it’s possible that advanced metrics influenced teams staying away from Cabrera.

This sounds negative and unsettling for his future, but a strong 2015 campaign could land him that multi-year deal on 2016’s open market. Results drive everything and a .260 or greater average with 20 home runs will inflate his realistically decent value. He’ll still be the same inconsistent hitter with dipping defense, but recapturing a shred of the past would help his stock.

Other middle infielders on the Rays’ roster include Ben Zobrist, who has been rumored to be available for weeks, Yunel Escobar, Nick Franklin and Logan Forsythe. Which of these emerge as the starting duo up the middle remains to be seen.

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