Let me start by introducing myself, as I’m new here. I’m finishing up pharmacy school in New Jersey but I’ve lived in Youngstown, OH almost my entire life. I’m an avid Tribe fan, and all anyone wants to talk about out here are the Yankees, Mets, or Phillies. Front-running to the Yankees isn’t in my blood, so here I am.
Now then. Asdrubal has been a mainstay with Cleveland since coming on in 2007. He’s been a solid hitter, almost always hitting above .270. That is, until last year. Cabrera had his first down year, posting a .242 average with an on-base average falling below .300 for the first time in his career (Okay, well, .299). If you’re into advanced stats, he logged the lowest WAR of his career at 1.2.
Cabrera’s contract is up after this year, and the Indians missed trading Cabrera to the in-need Cardinals last year. The Cardinals signed former Indian Jhonny Peralta to a 4-year, $53 million contract. Comparing numbers, Cabrera is younger, a better fielder, and a better hitter. I would imagine Cleveland could get serious value from a team that needs a shortstop. For example, let’s look at the Pirates. Winds are changing in Pittsburgh, and they seem to have a sense of urgency to win as soon as possible. Cabrera would definitely contribute to that team. I don’t think asking for top pitching prospect Jameson Taillon or Gerrit Cole would be out of the question, as the Pirates need to win now.
But why trade Cabrera at all? Solid hitter, franchise guy? Francisco Lindor. Now, stick with me here. The Indians are weak at 3rd base. Chisenhall just isn’t working out like they hoped. The guy should be ripping pitches 4 rows deep, but he just can’t reach that next level. Not to mention his fielding leaves a lot to be desired. Cabrera could shift over once Lindor comes up, but what if the Carlos Santana experiment works out? If Carlos becomes the power hitting 3rd baseman he wants to become (and I want him to become), he would be a huge upgrade over Chisenhall. Cabrera is too valuable to shift over to third, and doesn’t match the hitting that Santana provides. Therefore, not a good fit for a budget squad like the Indians.
Lindor is one of the most heralded prospects in baseball. Many are predicting yearly All-Star nods, even though his highest level is AA Akron. Though he did suffer a back injury last season, I believe he could be the Indians’ starting shortstop by the end of this year. I see him starting the year in Columbus, and ready for major league assignment by mid-August. Should an opportunity arise for Cabrera to be traded earlier in the year, Mike Aviles could fill in until Lindor is ready.
So I’d like to hear your thoughts. Many teams have top shortstop prospects in their systems, so I feel time is running out to recoup some value on Cabrera with a team that wants to make their move now. Plus, I was a little put off with the amount of on-field complaints, as well as lack of hustle on the baselines. But that’s just me.