MLB Rumors: The Texas Rangers and Asdrubal Cabrera have agreed on a one year, less than $5 million deal, per Ken Rosenthal on Twitter. Rosenthal says that Cabrera will be the Rangers’ third baseman in 2019.
The surprise here is not that the Rangers signed a veteran infielder to play third base — we have expected that since Jurickson Profar was dealt — but that it is Cabrera they ended up with, as Josh Harrison has been the name most prominently linked with the Rangers the past month.
Cabrera, 33, is a switch-hitter who has spent the bulk of his career as a shortstop, but who has played some second base and third base in recent years as well. The Mets signed him to a three year, $24.75 million deal after the 2015 season, and he played mostly shortstop for them until last season, when he played more second base. The Philadelphia Phillies acquired him last July, and he split time between shortstop and third base for them.
Cabrera put up a .262/.316/.458 slash line last season, after putting up a .280/.343/.455 slash line in 2016-17 for the Mets. He’s had a solid bat for a middle infielder, though the advanced stats didn’t like his defense the past few years. I suspect the Rangers expect him to be better defensively while playing mostly third base, and he gives the team someone who could play shortstop if need be, should Elvis Andrus miss time.
This is a pretty reasonable pickup. Cabrera isn’t someone you expect to be great, but he’s a serviceable one year option who could bring back something in July if the Rangers are out of the race.
As a side note, Cabrera re-joins Shin-Soo Choo, his teammate previously in both Seattle and Cleveland. In the summer of 2006, the Seattle Mariners made two separate trades with Cleveland, roughly a month apart, to acquire a first base platoon. They dealt Cabrera for Eddie Perez, and dealt Choo for Ben Broussard. That was a pair of trades that worked out...not great for the M’s.
UPDATE — Jeff Passan says it is one year, $3.5 million.