Were Rumors of sdrubal Cabrera’s Demise Greatly Exaggerated?
Sunday at Tribe Fest, during his #TweetTito segment, Terry Francona said something that was very interesting. When asked about Asdrubal Cabrera and how he felt the incumbent Tribe shortstop would perform in his contract year. Francona had the following to say in response:
.@ohhlala_Erika I think Cabby will come in with a lot to prove and be in great shape. And be the player everyone has come to expect to see.
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) January 26, 2014
Now, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard about Asdrubal Cabrera being in great shape. The same thing was said heading into 2013 and even once before that, if I’m not mistaken. Forget The Masters. Hearing one of the Indians brass talk about the “great shape” Asdrubal Cabrera is in has become a tradition unlike any other.
So what do we make of this statement by Francona? This certainly isn’t a firm statement that Cabrera is in great shape. Rather, he assumes that Cabrera is going to enter camp in great shape and ready to play up to his potential. Obviously the Indians must have had discussions with him following the conclusion of the 2013 season about his conditioning. Is this the year where it finally sticks?
That’s the thing about Asdrubal Cabrera. No one has ever really doubted the talent level. He possess the skills to be one of the games elite shortstops. The question has always centered around his conditioning and commitment to getting better as a player.
We saw in 2011 what could happen when Asdrubal Cabrera was properly motivated. Egged on by Orlando Cabrera to try to hit for more power, Asdrubal blasted career high 25 home runs and drove in 92 runs. From that point it looked as is Cabrera was headed for super stardom. He was entering into his prime and the sky was the limit. Only it never happened.
Cabrera’s conditioning began coming into question soon there after. He appeared noticeably rounder. As a result, his range began to suffer more and more with each and every passing year. To make matter worse, nagging injuries that resulted from a lack of conditioning began to pile up. Aches and pains and muscle strains abound limited the impact that Cabrera could have both offensively and defensively for the Indians. His counting numbers dropped, his batting ratios, got worse, and his zone ratings reached almost embarrassing lows.
Now we are being told once again that Asdrubal Cabrera will report in great shape. One can only hope this is true. The Indians missed their window to trade Asdrubal Cabrera and now appear to be committed to him for 2014. With Francisco Lindor not quite ready for the show, the Indians need Cabrera to regain the form that made him look like a star in the making.
For everyone’s sake, let’s hope that this is true. Based on the law of averages, it stands to reason that Cabrera should be better in 2014. If he is properly motivated, and athletes throughout history have proven that playing for a contract is plenty of motivation, there is still a chance that Cabrera could return to the form that once looked so promising. After all, he is only 28 years old and entering into the peak of his athletic prime. So anything is possible. Even the return of Asdrubal Cabrera to all-star form.
Now, let’s just hope that Terry Francona’s statement is accurate.