Originally written on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 12/5/12
Mlb_may_19_0940
The Indians have made it pretty clear that they are shopping Asdrubal Cabrera. With at least a serviceable fill-in on the roster in Mike Aviles and Cabrera’s trade value likely at its peak this winter, they’re attempting to use their 27-year-old shortstop to acquire more young pieces with an emphasis on future value. Arizona has been most often linked to Cabrera, as their never ending search for a shortstop makes them something of a logical fit. Reports this morning suggest that Cabrera could be the bait that gets them Trevor Bauer or could be part of a larger, multi-team trade that results in Justin Upton finally being traded. Clearly, the cost for Cabrera is quite high, and before Arizona surrenders one of their best trade chips, they should be aware of what they’re getting – a decent-but-not-great hitter who might not really be a shortstop much longer. Cabrera is basically the definition of the jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none type of player. He is pretty much a league average player at every aspect of the game. Let’s start with his offense – below are his career numbers against the league average over the 2007-2012 seasons. Name BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA Cabrera 8% 16% 0.137 0.319 0.279 0.342 0.416 0.333 Average 9% 18% 0.154 0.301 0.264 0.333 0.418 0.328 He strikes out about twice as often as he walks, but he doesn’t do either in particularly large quantities. He has some power, but he’s not a big time home run guy. His balls in play go for hits just slightly more often than average, but not enough to drastically alter his overall line. And he’s basically an average runner once he gets on base, being fast enough to steal some bases but not fast enough to avoid getting thrown out. Of course, having a shortstop who can produce league average offense is, in theory, quite valuable, since shortstops as a whole are generally lousy hitters. His 107 wRC+ ranks as the fifth best mark any regular shortstop has put up during his time in the Majors, with only Hanley Ramirez, Troy Tulowitzki, Derek Jeter, and Jose Reyes coming in ahead of him. Cabrera’s not in their level, but you don’t have be a monster to be a top-tier offensive shortstop. But, offense isn’t the only thing a player does to add value, and Cabrera’s skills are being pushed to the limit by sticking him at short. In 4,400 innings at the position in his career, he’s racked up a -34 UZR, which grades out to -10 runs per full season. This isn’t a case where the team’s internal evaluation of the player is just in stark contrast to the numbers, either, as Mark Shapiro publicly discussed their evaluation of Cabrera as a poor defender at the SABR Analytics conference last March. And, there’s been some talk that other teams interested in acquiring Cabrera were doing so with plans to move him to another position. There’s a general consensus here that Cabrera gives back a decent amount of the value that comes from playing shortstop by being quite poor relative to his peers. So, instead of referring to Cabrera as a shortstop, it’s probably better to look at him as an average 2B or 3B who has just been playing out of position for the last few years. And an average hitting, average fielding 2B/3B is basically the definition of an average player. Because Cabrera’s offense has been a little better than average the last few years, he’s been more of a +3 win player than a +2 win player, and perhaps its fair to expect him to sustain that level of performance for the next couple of years. Noting that he’s been an average player in his career probably undersells his next few years, since his recent performances are better than his career numbers and he’s headed into his age 27 season. But even as a +3 win player, he’s more of a nice piece than any kind of true star. And, with two years and $16 million left on his contract, Cabrera’s a value relative to the market, but he’s not exactly free. A +3 win player is probably worth around $15 million per year, so Cabrera’s getting paid around half of what he’s worth for the next two years. There’s certainly some extra value here, probably in the $20 million range, depending on how you evaluate the right to negotiate a longer term extension or make him a qualifying offer in a few years. But, $20 million of surplus value also doesn’t make him the kind of asset who should be commanding a monster return in trade either. If Cabrera was under team control for more years, or if he was a better player, then maybe these reported demands would fit, but teams should view him as more like the infield version of Angel Pagan, and giving up the farm for that kind of player — even on a solid contract — probably isn’t the wisest choice ever. Cabrera would be a nice player for the Diamondbacks, perhaps splitting time between 3B and SS so that the team can run a semi-platoon of newly-signed Eric Chavez and previously acquired Cliff Pennington. And perhaps there are valid reasons for Kevin Towers and his staff to be ready to move on from Upton and Bauer. But, these are two of the better trade chips that are actually on the market, and after those two, the Diamondbacks aren’t going to have many assets left that they could use to make substantial upgrades to keep up in the NL West. If they’re going to cash in Upton or Bauer, they have to make sure they get something substantial in return. And Cabrera probably isn’t quite good enough to be that substantial piece.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Urban Meyer hints JT Barrett leads Ohio State starting QB competition

Boras: Marlins players are angry Marcell Ozuna is in minors

Report: Chancellor officially holding out of training camp

Cardinals' Jen Welter is 'tired of hearing about Tom Brady's balls'

Sandoval downplays talk about weight, conditioning, defense

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Astros acquire Carlos Gomez from Brewers

Richardson charged for resisting arrest after high-speed chase

Yankees finally get Dustin Ackley

Five most overrated teams in the CFB preseason coaches’ poll

Murphy pulled players to give media ‘something to think about’

Robert Kraft signs fan’s ‘Free Brady’ poster

Giants acquire Mike Leake from Reds for two prospects

Twins closer's wife pens essay about Twitter hate he's enduring

Kings set to make Lieberman NBA’s second female coach

Is Julius Randle a star?

Projecting the prospects in the David Price trade

'Miracle on Ice' goalie selling Olympic gear for $5.7 million

Josh Smith addresses ‘harder on me’ comment in essay

Examining the state of the NFL

Steelers players: Who is Jimmy Garoppolo?

Tigers’ reboot continues, Joakim Soria traded to Pirates

Matthews ‘felt disrespected’ Blazers didn’t try to re-sign him

Cardinals ink billion dollar TV deal from Fox Sports Midwest

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Examining the state of the NFL

Puig: Broke out of slump by playing baseball video games

Braves dump risk, exchange it for risk

David Price traded to Blue Jays

The indefensible Hulk Hogan

Cole Hamels chose Rangers over Astros

Can Preller fix the mess in San Diego?

Next summer's top 10 NBA free agents

Who is the NL's new top shortstop?

Cardinals HC Bruce Arians calls Jen Welter a 'trailblazer'

Mets still act like a small-market team

Tom Brady: I did nothing wrong

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker