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Could the Indians Score a Huge Return for Asdrubal Cabrera?

A few weeks ago, I proposed three possible trades that I thought the Indians should have attempted to make. In early December, I expanded upon the first idea: sending Indians’ closer Chris Perez to Cincinnati for catcher Devin Mesoraco. The second trade on the list involved sending Shin-Soo Choo to Boston; now that we got Trevor Bauer from the Arizona Diamondbacks in the three-team deal with Cincinnati, that deal is no longer valid. But there’s one potential trade that’s still ripe for analysis.

Should the Indians deal shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera? It has been a poll question on Wahoo’s on First for most of the winter and the results are nearly 50/50. With two-years and $16.5 million remaining on Cabrera’s contract, it shouldn’t be about the money, but completely about whether or not the team has any ambitions of keeping their All-Star shortstop beyond 2014. If they don’t feel like that is in their best interests, then cashing in on two years of Cabrera is going to be the best deal for the future of the franchise.

Do you need a reminder on why two years is better than one? Just last month, the Rays cashed in James Shields sending him and Wade Davis to the Royals for the impressive haul of Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery, and Patrick Leonard. Shields is a very good pitcher, posting a 31-22 record and a 3.15 ERA over the last two seasons. However, he is 31 years old and due $21 million over the next two years; by contrast, Asdrubal Cabrera is just 27 years old.

So about dealing Cabrera to the St. Louis Cardinals for Trevor Rosenthal and Matt Adams?

The Cardinals have the oft-injured Rafael Furcal currently pencilled in at shortstop. Cabrera would be a huge upgrade offensively, as Furcal’s inability to stay healthy limits his speed, which has always been one of his major assets. Furcal could slide over to second base until his next injury, as the Cardinals have Daniel Descalso, Pete Kozma, and Matt Carpenter as alternative options in the middle infield. Cabrera’s powerful bat would fit nicely into the Cardinals lineup in front of or behind Matt Holliday, David Freese, Allen Craig, Carlos Beltran (switch-hitter), and Yadier Molina, giving St. Louis an additional switch-hitter to a right-handed dominant lineup.

In return, the Indians get a high-ceiling starting pitcher in Rosenthal, who has posted very impressive numbers in both the minors and the majors; although his experience in St. Louis was limited to a total of 26 appearances (31.1 innings), he turned in an electric 40:9 K/BB ratio out of the Cardinals’ bullpen. They would also receive Adams, who has posted a career .318/.365/.565 line in 1,569 minor league plate appearances. The 24-year-old left-handed hitter can be plugged into the DH spot or first base for the Tribe.

However, after seeing what the Indians got in the Choo trade, that isn’t nearly enough—as Trevor Bauer was a much better return than Rosenthal and Adams, and for a lesser player than Cabrera who had only one year of team control remaining. So who should the Tribe set their sights on within the Cardinals organization? Shelby Miller, Carlos Martinez, Oscar Taveras, or Lance Lynn would be upgrades over Rosenthal in a deal. Is that too much to ask, though?

If I’m Chris Antonetti, I start by asking for Taveras, a future All-Star right fielder who can absolutely mash. When a 20-year-old is compared to Vladimir Guerrero, you have to have interest. From there, Martinez would probably be the next request, as his small frame and electric stuff is reminiscent of a guy named Pedro Martinez. Miller, Lynn, and Rosenthal are all excellent returns, as well.

Aim high, Tribe. Aim high. If they are able to get this type of return, the Indians must pounce on it.

Who should the Indians try to trade this winter? (pick all that apply)

  • Chris Perez (60%, 203 Votes)
  • Asdrubal Cabrera (43%, 145 Votes)
  • None of the above (20%, 67 Votes)
  • Justin Masterson (11%, 37 Votes)

Total Voters: 338

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Tags: Asdrubal Cabrera Cleveland Indians St Louis Cardinals

  • aaronasbury

    Your proposed trade idea is incredible for the Indians but that is why it won’t happen. I doubt that STL wants to part ways with Rosenthal or Miller for Asdrubal. Dave Cameron suggested STL could give Adams and Lance Lynn when I asked him about it in a Fangraphs Chat, but for me that is not enough for Asdrubal.

  • Aj Cluck

    As a Cardinals fan, I can’t see them dealing Taveras, Rosenthal or Miller for ANYONE. Rosenthal has actually passed Miller on the organizational depth chart; IMO, it’s untrue to say that Lynn is an upgrade over Rosenthal. I could see a Lynn, Adams, and a piece like John Gast, a left-handed prospect somewhere in the teens on their Top 30. Is that enough for the Indians? I dunno.

  • Ben Wenger

    Not sure why people are enamored with Lance Lynn. Nice SP, but his 2nd half was terrible last year.

    • Aj Cluck

      I don’t know about terrible. First time over 175 IP’s. 9.2 K’s/9 in the second half. That doesn’t exactly grow on trees.

  • Jg941

    The Pirates could offer a similar package. RH SP Kyle McPherson, Pirates’ #8 prospect (7:1 K:BB ratio in minors last year, similar #s to Rosenthal in same MLB sample at end of 2012). Likely to be part of Bucs starting rotation out of ST.

    Also their #10 prospect, 1B Alex Dickerson, is rated #5 overall 1B prospect in MLB (Adams is ranked #3).

    But I would look hard at also trying to get Garrett Jones now to platoon at 1B w/Reynolds and help out at DH & RF. Pirates could probably also include one of their RP/closer prospects, either their #12 Bryan Morris or #16 Victor Black, both due up in 2013 (Morris was late call up already), in case Perez is heading out as well.

    You won’t get any of the Cards’ (or the Bucs’) top 3 prospects for 2 years of Cabrera, but both systems are deep enough where there’s another good pitching or OF mid-prospect that could be added.

  • ctownboy

    Just because the Reds were DUMB and overpaid for Choo and the Diamondbacks were DUMB (because they didn’t like how Bauer trained) doesn’t mean some OTHER team (the Cardinals) are going to be DUMB and overpay for Cabrera.

    I said last year that Cabrera makes sense for the Cardinals and that Matt Adams makes sense as part of the package going to Cleveland. However, just because two players make sense for two teams doesn’t mean that one team is THEN going to overpay to get that one player.

  • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.brill Daniel Brill

    The Cards are not going to let those two players go for Cabrera. Antonetti would have jumped at that deal. Bloggers on this site keep posting dream trades that will never happen.