As the MLB offseason rolls along, the Milwaukee Brewers are still in search for a second baseman. Is free agent Asdrubal Cabrera a potential candidate?
33-year-old veteran Asdrubal Cabrera spent the past few seasons with the New York Mets before being traded just before the deadline to the Philadelphia Phillies last season.
Although his time in Philly did not go as well as he or the organization had hoped, Cabrera overall had a solid 2018 season at the plate and could be a good stop-gap before the arrival of Keston Hiura.
Cabrera at the plate
If the Milwaukee Brewers brought in Asdrubal Cabrera, it would be an upgrade offensively from what they currently have on the roster at second.
Last season, Cabrera posted a slash line of .262/.316/.458 and an OPS of .774. He also added 23 home runs and 75 RBIs. For much of the season Cabrera was playing quite well, including an OPS of .824 through the All-Star break.
However Cabrera couldn’t sustain that production and hit a slump at the end of the year, specifically once he arrived to Philly. But overall, 2018’s numbers for Cabrera were fairly close to his career averages.
One area in particular that Cabrera struggles with offensively is drawing walks. Over the course of his career, he has gotten on base via a walk just 7.5 percent of the time. This may not be enough to deter GM David Stearns from bringing Cabrera in, but being able to draw walks is something that he holds in high regard.
As it currently stands, the only left-handed bats that will consistently be in the Milwaukee Brewers lineups are Travis Shaw and Christian Yelich. Cabrera being a switch hitter who has put up similar numbers on both sides of the plate, can add another lefty bat to the lineup when facing a right-handed pitcher.
During his career, Cabrera has shown his ability to play just about any position in the infield. Philadelphia used him primarily as a shortstop, but 91 of Cabrera’s 132 starts in 2018 came at second base.
Unfortunately in recent years, Cabrera’s defense has began to decline and seems to be getting worse, this past season he was -5 in DRS.
But Stearns and the Milwaukee Brewers have shown that they are willing to sacrifice defense for potentially more offense by moving Shaw to second base last season. The question is, are they willing to make that same commitment for an entire season?
Although there are a lot of options at second base in the free agent market this offseason, what makes it tricky for the Brewers is that they do not need a long-term solution.
With Keston Hiura flying through the minor league system, Milwaukee really just needs someone to fill the second base role for one season, maybe two for the right player. This makes signing a Jed Lowrie more difficult as he will most likely be looking for more than just a one year deal.
Bringing in Cabrera would help Milwaukee stabilize second base while not necessarily having to give up a long-term deal. According to Spotrac, Cabrera could command over $9 million for a one year deal on the open market.
This is a position that the Brewers need to address this offseason and even though there are a number of available names in free agency, given Milwaukee’s time frame there isn’t as many options as there appears to be.
Asdrubal Cabrera would give Milwaukee another left-handed option in the lineup when facing a righty and would give the offense a boost over what they had at second base in 2018.
As he always does, Stearns will do his due diligence by looking into all possible candidates and Cabrera could be the short-term solution that Milwaukee is looking for.