Padres Free Agent Targets: Asdrubal Cabrera
By Tim Richer
With Chase Headley gone and Everth Cabrera possibly on the outs with the organization, the Padres could be in the market to add another infielder or two this off-season. One option they could look at is former Indians and Nationals infielder, Asdrubal Cabrera. Cabrera, who is coming off back-to-back down years, could be a good buy-low option. At 29-years-old, he should be in his peak years and a change of scenery could be what he needs to return to his All-Star form.
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Offensively, Asdrubal Cabrera would be an upgrade over the incumbent shortstop Everth Cabrera. The only loss would be in the speed department, but everywhere else Asdrubal has Everth beat. Asdrubal is a career .268/.330/.409 hitter while Everth has hit just .248/.319/.333. Everth has also been a below-average hitter in every single season other than his outlier 2013 All-Star campaign where he posted an OPS+ of 113. Every other year of his career his finished the year with a below 100 mark, and a career average of 86. Asdrubal on the other hand has had an OPS+ of over 100 in 3 of his 6 seasons with his lowest being 92. So at Asdrubal’s worst he’s better than Everth’s average performance. If you prefer wRC+ to OPS+ you get almost the same exact results.
On defense it’s not quite the same blowout. While Asdrubal has gotten much deserved flack for his sub par defense, Everth doesn’t lag too far behind. For their careers Asdrubal has a -10.6 UZR/150 while Everth has a -7.3. While Everth is the clear winner, he’s still below average defensively, so any perceived edge he may of had over Asdrubal is minimal.
Also Asdrubal doesn’t have to play shortstop. When he was shipped over tho the Nationals at the trade deadline this year, he exclusively played second base. While may have been just a short term fix, it showed that he is comfortable playing the position. So if Cabrera takes over second what happens to Jedd Gyorko? Gyorko came up has a third baseman and was only moved to second because he was blocked by Chase Headley. If the Padres plan was to have Cabrera play second, the transition from second to third shouldn’t be a difficult one for Gyorko due to his familiarity with the position already.
Overall, Cabrera may not be the most attractive option out there, but he’s still an upgrade to the offense. If the price is right, I can see the Padres jumping on the chance to bring him in as a reclamation project.