It’s no secret the San Diego Padres need a shortstop this offseason, but there aren’t that many good ones available in the free agent market. However, one viable option is Asdrubal Cabrera, who has been as consistent as anyone at the position over the last several years.
Playing in Tampa Bay this season, he got overlooked, but he still put up a respectable .265 batting average while hitting 15 home runs and driving in 58. Obviously, these aren’t earth shattering numbers, but they’re better than what players at the position put up in 2015 for San Diego.
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The team’s two primary shortstop options going into the offseason are Clint Barmes, who batted .232 with three home runs and 16 RBI in 98 games, and Alexi Amarista, who batted .203 with three home runs and 30 RBI in 118 games. It’s pretty clear Cabrera would provide an upgrade over those two.
Perhaps more importantly, Cabrera could come relatively cheap compared to other options the team has. In free agency, Ian Desmond is the only other free agent that would make sense for the team and he’s going to get a pretty big contract regardless of the fact he had a down year in 2015.
Meanwhile, if the team wanted to trade for a shortstop like Javier Baez/Starlin Castro or Troy Tulowitzki, they would have to give up major and minor league talent. Obviously, if they were to sign Cabrera, they wouldn’t have to give up any player assets.
Cabrera will be 30 on Opening Day, meaning he still likely has three or four more solid seasons left. If the Padres give him a two-year deal in the $16-20 million range, it would be well worth it. This would at least allow the team to patch over a hole while they’re re-tooling the roster.
Sure, signing Cabrera wouldn’t be the “sexy” move, but it might just be the right one for a team that still needs to be patient while trying to build a winner.