Jul 10, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera (13) hits a three-RBI triple in the seventh inning agains the New York Yankees at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Four Potential Destinations for Indians' Asdrubal Cabrera

The Cleveland Indians made some news when they traded Justin Masterson to the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday for outfield prospect James Ramsey. While you could say that it would appear to make the club “sellers” at the deadline, it begs the question as to whether the club was just better off without Masterson in the rotation, considering his ineffectiveness over the course of the 2014 season. Certainly, the Indians could have gambled on a return to form, but with the big right-hander heading towards free agency, acquiring a solid, young position prospect for the soon-t0-be-leaving Masterson seems more like cutting the dead weight.

Which leads us to the next possible deal that could actually benefit the Tribe: dealing Asdrubal Cabrera.

Cabrera, also a free agent after the 2014 season, is a hot commodity due to the need for offensive producers at middle infield positions. Looking at his stat line this season, it may seem odd to consider the 28-year-old shortstop as that producer, but his .249/.308/.390 triple-slash, .699 OPS (11th among SS), 33 extra-base hits (7th among SS), and 40 RBI (10th among SS) put him into that category, with very little else potentially available as the deadline looms.

The Indians have both a short-term option in Mike Aviles or Jose Ramirez to take over the shortstop position, with Francisco Lindor‘s dark, shadowy presence lurking a couple of hours away in Triple-A Columbus. Any of the three would likely be huge defensive upgrades to Cabrera for the Indians, while each has some offensive skills to consider a full-time switch due to a Cabrera trade as a possible upgrade.

With that said, where could Cabrera end up?

Jul 11, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera (13) is safe at home as Chicago White Sox catcher Adrian Nieto (17) misses the throw during the fifth inning at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

1. San Francisco Giants

The Giants have been having issues up-the-middle all season thanks in no small part to the absence of Marco Scutaro, who has missed nearly 100 games due to a back issue, and he just went back on the disabled list with the same issue. Brandon Crawford is having his best offensive season of his career at short (.715 OPS), but Giants second basemen have combined to hit just .176/.257/.276 this season, and, while it could be a substantial change to shift Cabrera to second in the middle of the season, he certainly couldn’t do much worse than the club’s existing options. After dealing away a couple of solid pitching prospects to acquire Jake Peavy from Boston, San Francisco could be all-in. Brian Sabean has never been shy in dealing away prospects (see Zack Wheeler for Carlos Beltran), so the Indians could look to acquire a couple of solid young arms.

Recommended offer for the Indians:

SS Asdrubal Cabrera for RHP Clayton Blackburn and LHP Mike Kickham

Blackburn, 21, has a 2.86 ERA and 1.05 WHIP over 362 minor league innings, averaging 9.1 K:9 and just 1.7 BB:9. He’s got a solid fastball, throws strikes, and he’s already in Double-A.

Kickham, 25, is buried in San Francisco due to the club’s constant pitching depth. He’s left-handed and breathing, so he should have a career, but his numbers outside of the Pacific Coast League were pretty solid; however, it has been nearly two years since he was in Double-A and he has averaged nearly 4 BB:9 over his 496 minor league innings. He is ready to step into a rotation now, and, while he may not be more than a back-end guy, he is depth for a club that is in need of “ready” pitchers.

2. Milwaukee Brewers

It was just the All-Star break of 2013 that Jean Segura was the daydream of many fantasy baseball fans, as the 23-year-old was hitting .325/.363/.487 with 27 stolen bases. Since then, it hasn’t gone so well for Segura, as he hit just .241/.268/.315 over the second half of 2013, while hitting a putrid .233/.268/.324 in 2014. The Brewers are just 1.5 games up on Pittsburgh for first in the NL Central, but they could certainly use some production at short, as they just aren’t getting anything out of Segura this season, and after his personal tragedy that he recently endured (having lost his nine month old child, suddenly), it would be fair to question if anyone could overcome such a loss and enthusiastically play a game that could appear so meaningless in such a time. Still, it’s a business, and the Brewers organization has a lot at stake, so Cabrera could be a short-term fix.

Recommended offer for the Indians:

SS Asdrubal Cabrera for RHP Devin Williams and RHP Ariel Pena

Williams, 19, has huge upside. He’s listed at just 6’3″, 165 pounds, but he can already sit 90-94 with his fastball and he has a change and slider. He is the “ceiling” prospect and he may be out of reach in this deal, but the Indians should at least try.

Pena, 26, is a big, 6’3″, 240 pounder with a big fastball and bad command (116:63 K:BB over 109.1 Triple-A innings in 2014). He is “older” for a prospect, so he could be a nice additional piece who could work as a bullpen arm if the Indians are unable to fix his command woes. He can miss bats, though, evidenced by his 1.30 WHIP and .202 BAA this season.

3. Cincinnati Reds

The loss of Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips has led to a pretty pathetic display of offensive production, while the Reds have faded in the standings by losing 12 of their last 16 games since July 10th. With Ramon Santiago, Skip Schumaker, and Kristopher Negron manning second, Phillips is highly missed, but the Reds having received anything offensively from Zack Cozart all year, either (.223/.273/.289, 54 wRC+). The Reds will eventually get Votto and Phillps back, but they’ll have to ride Todd Frazier, Jay Bruce, Devin Mesoraco, Billy Hamilton, and a strong rotation to the promised land; however, adding Cabrera could provide some offense while they wait.

Recommended offer for the Indians:

SS Asdrubal Cabrera for RHP Michael Lorenzen

This is a reach and Indians fans may want more, but they aren’t going to get Robert Stephenson from Cincinnati and Lorenzen could be just as dynamic. He has an upper-90’s fastball, and, after closing in college, still needs to get a better feel for a starting role, but he could end up having better stuff than any other pitcher in the Reds’ system. He started off in Double-A this season and hasn’t produced eye-popping numbers, but if the Indians could get him for a couple of months of Cabrera, it is a lottery ticket for a potential top-of-the-rotation arm.

Mariners' RHP Victor Sanchez Courtesy: MiLB.com

Mariners’ RHP Victor Sanchez
Courtesy: MiLB.com

4. Seattle Mariners

Seattle is being quite bold this season, already acquiring Kendrys Morales from the Twins after signing Robinson Cano this past winter to become relevant. With a dynamic one-two of Felix Hernandez and Hishashi Iwakuma, they could be a dangerous team in the postseason. They just need some more offense. Cabrera, originally signed out of Venezuela by Seattle in 2002, would be a significant upgrade offensively from Brad Miller, who has “led” Seattle shortstops to a .220/.283/.334 triple slash this season. The Mariners aren’t done making deals, having been rumored in on both David Price and Jon Lester, and Cabrera’s switch-hitting ability could be useful in a left-handed dominated lineup.

Recommended offer for the Indians:

SS Asdrubal Cabrera for 3B Patrick Kivlehan and RHP Victor Sanchez

Kivlehan,24, appears blocked in Seattle with D.J. Peterson and Kyle Seager ahead of him on the first base/third base depth charts. He’s a right-handed hitting corner infielder in the long-term, and he is moving quickly after being a college draftee in 2012, arriving in Double-A this season. He isn’t the centerpiece that a Taijuan Walker or James Paxton would be, but he would be a solid return if packaged with…

Sanchez, 19, is a short (6′) kid with a big base (255 pounds), who could get compared to Bartolo Colon if he isn’t careful over the next several years. However, he won’t be compared to him just because of his size. There are reasons why 19-year-old’s get to Double-A, and Sanchez has been there all season. He has tremendous stuff and very good command. He could be an asset for the Indians for years to come, and he deserves much more prospect hype than he receives due to the Mariners gluttony of pitching prospects.

The next 24 hours could get quite interesting around MLB. Don’t forget to check back with us to find out the latest Indians news!

 

 

Tags: 2014 Trade Deadline Asdrubal Cabrera

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