Cabrera, Rosenthal adds, will play third base for the rebuilding Rangers. He used to be a handy versatile infielder, but those days are long gone for the 33-year-old.
Cabrera’s 2018 was very much a year of two halves. He was excellent with the New York Mets, hitting 18 homers in 98 games with a .817 OPS. His performances attracted interest from the Philadelphia Phillies as the Mets fell out of contention, and he was traded.
Life in Philadelphia was not so good for Asdrubal, however. His OPS was .678 in 48 games with the Phillies, and it’s been a difficult free agency as a result. Third base is incredibly strong league-wide at the moment, meaning Cabrera was never going to get more than a bench role on a contending team.
Texas are a long way from making the playoffs, but it’s a place where Cabrera can get regular plate appearances in the absence of Adrian Beltre. Another good start to the season will likely see him flipped again midway through the campaign.
The Rangers have added veteran pitching this offseason in Lance Lynn, Mike Minor and Shelby Miller. Cabrera fits the same pattern, though his one-year deal, like Miller received, makes him a better trade asset come July. There’s no risk to the Miller and Cabrera deals, they are exactly the moves rebuilding teams should be making.
Miller is the greater risk than Cabrera because of his injury history. Cabrera is a consistent, just above league average hitter (his wRC+ has been over 100 every year since 2014). He’s not going to return a haul, but a contender, like Philadelphia were last season, could part with a decent prospect.
Steamer projects Cabrera to have a .757 OPS in 2019, which is only 17 points lower than his 2018 mark. If Cabrera produces at that level in the first few months of next season, the Rangers have a very useful trade chip on their hands for a bargain price.