Has the Trade Value of Asdrubal Cabrera Officially Bottomed Out?
For the longest time, we have been suggesting that the Indians make a move that involves Asdrubal Cabrera. More specifically, we have been urging that the Indians find a willing trade partner to take on the final year of Cabrera’s contract, valued at $10-million, and in return bring back some sort of high level prospect or major league ready talent.
Well, sometimes the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.
Thanks to two less than spectacular seasons, the hope that the Indians could land a solid package for Cabrera may become nothing more than a pipe dream. Teams are going to be less likely to take on what could prove to be a one year rental of Asdrubal Cabrera not knowing what to expect from hi either offensively or defensively. Now it looks as if the most likely and obvious scenario for moving Cabrera may be falling apart before it even had a chance to come to fruition.
With the current state of their shortstop situation combined with their almost annual run to the World Series, the St. Louis Cardinals looked like the most obvious trade partner. They badly needed a shortstop after Tommy John surgery by Rafael Furcal and the failed experiment of Pete Kozma and Daniel Descalso. They also have a minor league system rich with top tier prospects, any of which would look great in a Cleveland Indians uniform.
However, word came down on Sunday that the Cardinals have begun preliminary talks with the Colorado Rockies about the possibility of trading for all-star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. Not only would this be a game changer and possibly one of the biggest moves of the offseason, it also hands the Indians a serious blow to any potential plans that involve trading Asdrubal Cabrera.
First of all, it eliminates a team in serious need of an upgrade at shortstop from consideration for Cabrera’s services. It also hurts that the Cardinals looked like such a perfect match as a team in contention on a yearly basis that would be willing to make a deal and sacrifice a bit of their future to improve their chances in the present. Not only that, but the elimination of the Cardinals from the Asdrubal Cabrera “sweepstakes” means their is one less team with which to use as leverage against other teams.
Even more discerning is the list of possible trade partners who may have legitimate interest in Cabrera for 2014. Again, his status as a potential one year rental probably eliminates his from going to teams that are either cost conscious or in rebuilding mode. We can also eliminate every team who currently has a solid shortstop option on their big league roster.
So who does that leave?
From the outside looking in, the most likely destinations for Asdrubal Cabrera could be Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, or the Yankees. Both the Pirates and Reds have less than desirable options playing shortstop on a regular basis and should contend in 2014. An upgrade at shortstop over Clint Barmes/Jordy Mercer and Zack Cozart, respectively, could be just what they need to get over the hump.
As for the Yankees, they probably will not want Derek Jeter playing shortstop everyday in 2014. We’ve also seen that Eduardo Nunez may not be as good as originally thought. Cabrera could be just what they need as they transition out of the Derek Jeter era. The only question is do they have enough to offer the Indians in exchange for Cabrera? That remains to be seen.
Because of all of this, plan B might be the best possible alternative. That being, hold onto Cabrera and see what happens. Maybe he re-establishes some value and can be traded at the deadline in July. Maybe a team experiences an injury in spring training or during the season and gets desperate. Maybe Cabrera turns things around and puts together one last great season in a Tribe uniform.
So however this plays out, if the Indians do decide to trade Asdrubal Cabrera or not, don’t be surprised if the return is less than spectacular.