The Texas Rangers have signed infielder Asdrubal Cabrera to a one year deal, the team announced today, making officially the deal that was reported a couple of days ago as being in place pending a physical. To make room on the 40 man roster for Cabrera, the Rangers have designated infielder Jack Reinheimer for assignment.
Cabrera, who we talked about here, is a 33 year old switch hitter who has played mostly shortstop in the past, but who has recently played more second base and third base. He’s expected to be the Rangers’ starting third baseman in 2019, where his strong arm plays up and his diminished range, which was an issue at second base, is less of a problem. Cabrera has a solid bat for a non-1B infielder, and is a quality pickup who should be expected to be a more-or-less league average player at the hot corner in 2019.
At this point, I think we can expect to see Ronald Guzman, Rougned Odor, Elvis Andrus and Asdrubel Cabrera as the starting infield, with Joey Gallo, Delino DeShields and Nomar Mazara in the outfield, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Jeff Mathis sharing time behind the plate. That means Shin-Soo Choo at DH, which also means no spot for Willie Calhoun on the roster, barring injury. If the Rangers go with just a three man bench, they will still need a fourth outfielder, though the third spot they have some flexibility with, since Kiner-Falefa can play all the infield positions, and Cabrera can play shortstop — they could, for example, keep Patrick Wisdom or someone similar around as a righthanded corner bench bat, or they could keep a third catcher.
Reinheimer was claimed on waivers earlier this offseason from the Chicago Cubs, and seemed like a likely candidate to end up on the waiver wire when the Rangers needed a 40 man roster spot. If he goes unclaimed, the Rangers would outright him and have him as minor league infield depth at Nashville.