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Indians trade Asdrubal Cabrera to Nationals

Jul 31, 2014, 3:40 PM EDT

Asdrubal Cabrera Getty Images

In search of infield depth with Ryan Zimmerman on the disabled list again, the Nationals have acquired switch-hitting shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera from the Indians in exchange for minor leaguer Zach Walters.

Cabrera has been the Indians’ starting shortstop since 2009, but he also has 1,300 innings of experience at second base and will presumably mostly play there for the Nationals, with Anthony Rendon starting at third base (pending Zimmerman’s status).

Cabrera has hit .246 with nine homers and a .692 OPS in 97 games this season as an impending free agent and posted similar offensive numbers in 2013 following back-to-back All-Star appearances in 2011 and 2012.

Walters has had some brief stints with the Nationals, but the 24-year-old infielder has spent most of the past two seasons at Triple-A hitting .262 with 45 homers and an .820 OPS in 223 total games. He has 25-homer power and has played all over the diamond defensively, but it comes with poor plate discipline and lots of strikeouts.

  1. teejayss - Jul 31, 2014 at 3:43 PM

    why Nats? how is cabrera a better option than espinosa?

    • emdash01 - Jul 31, 2014 at 3:51 PM

      You perhaps have not seen how Espinosa’s hitting this year. He can still play when lefties are pitching, but he should be a platoon player at this point.

    • someguyinva - Jul 31, 2014 at 3:56 PM

      Well, they’re both switch-hitters, but Cabrera has a career .264 batting average and .737 OPS against right-handers, while Espinosa has a career .215 batting average and .650 OPS against them.

      So yeah, he’s a better option than Espinosa against righties. Neither replaces Zimmeman’s bat, but the Nats will only be asking their 2B to hit in the 8th slot, so you’re not looking for the second coming of Rogers Hornsby or Joe Morgan here.

  2. proudlycanadian - Jul 31, 2014 at 3:49 PM

    Yesterday, Indians fans seemed to be happy that he was on the trade block.

  3. edelmanfanclub - Jul 31, 2014 at 3:49 PM

    Cabrera isn’t that great. .331 career OBP, 105 OPS+, which is average.

    Still an upgrade on Espinosa, who seemed to have lost his pop.

  4. emdash01 - Jul 31, 2014 at 3:50 PM

    Like it – he’s averagish, but that’s an upgrade with what they’re currently running out there at second, and the latest news on Zimmerman making it back this year aren’t terribly encouraging. And Zach Walters seems like a 4A player with his lack of plate discipline.

    • natstowngreg - Jul 31, 2014 at 3:57 PM

      Agreed. I like him as a rental–just not as the 2B answer for next season.

  5. natstowngreg - Jul 31, 2014 at 3:53 PM

    From Adam Kilgore:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/wp/2014/07/31/nationals-acquire-indians-infielder-asdrubal-cabrera-for-zach-walters/

    This has the look and feel of a rental. Not sure Rizzo would want to pay Asdrubal much to be the full-time 2B next season. He doesn’t bring much in the way of defense. He’s a better hitter than Espinosa, but this lineup doesn’t need another guy with some power and little patience.

    • tribefan1199 - Jul 31, 2014 at 3:59 PM

      It’s being reported that the Indians are eating all of Cabrera’s remaining salary, so it’s not even a rental. Hopefully the Tribe front office knows more about Walters than these boards do.

      • natstowngreg - Jul 31, 2014 at 4:29 PM

        A rent-free rental. Nice. The Nats got a useful piece for contending this season, without much cost. The Indians added by subtraction.

        Aaron and Kilgore have it about right on Walters, I think. He might stick as a utility INF/OF.

  6. shawndc04 - Jul 31, 2014 at 3:53 PM

    I can’t say that this deal was unexpected, but Cabrera’s dropoff the past couple of years is not encouraging.

    • emdash01 - Jul 31, 2014 at 4:00 PM

      He’s only under contract for this year, so the Nats don’t have to worry about his future trajectory.

  7. noodles73 - Jul 31, 2014 at 3:57 PM

    Helps the Indians make room (eventually) for Francisco Lindor.

  8. blantoncollier - Jul 31, 2014 at 4:01 PM

    Another $10m back to the Dolan’s pocket. Guess Paul and Larry consider that a win!

    • tolbuck - Jul 31, 2014 at 4:20 PM

      Dumb comment. The Tribe is kicking in money as part of the deal, so they may be saving nothing. If the rumor is true they are paying Cabrera’s entire salary for the rest of the year then the deal is actually costing the Dolans money.

      This is a win in that they got something for Cabrera. They weren’t going to give him a qualifying offer if they kept him because they couldn’t risk having him accept it, so if they’d kept him they’d have gotten nothing. At least they obtained a warm body to keep SS warm for Lindor to take over next season.

    • tom357 - Jul 31, 2014 at 4:24 PM

      Did he have a $20mil contract for the year?
      He’s certainly not worth it if so.
      Cabrera is very replaceable and Lindor is one of our best minor league prospects.
      I’d call it smart to get ‘something’ as he wouldn’t be resigned at the end of the season.
      Were they ‘cheap’ to not sign Masterson? That move looks brilliant given his performance.

    • tribefan1199 - Jul 31, 2014 at 4:27 PM

      Completely unfounded comment. The trendy thing to do is to call the Dolans cheap, but they’re picking up the remainder of Cabrera’s salary in this deal. They are literally paying Cabrera to not play for them anymore this season and getting a prospect with some upside in return. There was no way they were going to resign A-Cab next year with Lindor ready. He’s been stealing money from the Dolans the last couple of seasons.

      • takemytalentstosoutheuclid - Jul 31, 2014 at 4:42 PM

        We call them cheap because they are cheap. The division leading Tigers add yet another Cy Young winner to their staff, and we add two minor leaguers. Face it, the Dolans don’t have the financial ability to be competitive. Period. I’m tired of hearing about how they need the fans to come first. Show us you’re serious about trying to be competitive, and we’ll come. That was proven in the 90’s.

  9. r8rnuck - Jul 31, 2014 at 4:07 PM

    more than enough in the depth chart to make up for a lack of acab and at least we got something for him versus letting him walk. win-win. good luck cabs!

  10. whiteknightblackheart - Jul 31, 2014 at 4:40 PM

    man, poor guy. We all know how indians are treated in Washington.

  11. spursareold - Jul 31, 2014 at 5:01 PM

    What the heck happened to Acab? He was just a beast like 2-3 years ago…

  12. janessa31888 - Jul 31, 2014 at 6:02 PM

    I won’t be shedding any tears. He didn’t deserve to wear Omar’s number. So sloppy defensively. Once in a great, great while he’d make a really great play, and then butcher the next trying it make it look spectacular.

  13. laxer37 - Jul 31, 2014 at 11:12 PM

    Much like the Browns, the Indians seem to always be in rebuilding mode. They made a nice little run last year only to fall back into mediocrity once again this year.

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