2014 Fantasy BaseballFantasy Baseball

2014 Fantasy Baseball: Is Asdrubal Cabrera on the move?

There is nothing more frustrating than being stuck in the middle. The Cleveland Indians are stuck in the middle. They made it to the playoffs last year during the last week of the season and they are standing in nearly identical shoes this year. They are competing with the Royals for second place in the AL Central division. Right now, second place in the AL Central would be good enough to fish come October.

They could add a major arm and potentially leapfrog enough teams to get back into the playoffs. However, their farm system is a bit thin and they could potentially deal a veteran and replenish that farm system. It is becoming increasingly obvious that Asdrubal Cabrera is on his way out. Francisco Lindor was just promoted to AAA, so he could potentially be called up to take over. They also could wait until the offseason to make the deal.

Before we look at potential suitors for Cabrera, we should take a look at what kind of player another team may be getting. Rating Cabrera creates problems. He was a Web Gem dandy a few years ago, but the defensive metrics are less than kind. With the proliferation of statistics available to average fans, there was a significant backlash against Cabrera. So, is he the star he looked like a few years ago or the bum that people seem to think he is?

AVG

OBP

SLG

HR

Runs

RBI

2010

.276

.326

.346

3

39

29

2011

.273

.332

.460

25

87

92

2012

.270

.338

.423

16

70

68

2013

.242

.299

.402

14

66

64

2014

.247

.308

.392

9

52

39

In this day and age, a shortstop with a .700 OPS is not half bad. Offense has been down and shortstop is a down position right now in the game. Cabrera has something offer a contending team in need of a shortstop. While fantasy owners can’t necessarily consider the defense, real teams must. Before we start playing matchmaker, let’s look at the fielding numbers.

DRS

FRAA

UZR

2010

-1

-2.8

-1.4

2011

3

-19.0

-4.2

2012

-5

2.7

-2.3

2013

-16

-3.9

-7.7

2014

-7

2.1

-1.7

As is usually the case, the truth is somewhere in between. 2013 was a horrible season for Cabrera all the way around, but he has returned to something resembling mediocre with the glove. Couple that with a 98 OPS+ and you have yourself an attractive shortstop for teams that are lacking one. Now, let the games begin.

The Contenders

The Favorite: Detroit Tigers

This just makes too much sense. The Tigers have nothing at shortstop because they have been ravaged by injuries. MLBdepthcharts.com has Eugenio Suarez as the current regular. He did rate in the top ten for prospects in the Tigers system according to Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus, but the Tigers farm system is hardly loaded with any kind of talent right now. Even putting an average shortstop in place of Suarez could make a difference come playoff time. After all, Cabrera is on pace to hit about 15 home runs. Having that kind of production on the bottom of the lineup could make the difference.

It Makes Sense: Oakland Athletics

Let’s be honest. All of Billy Beane’s moves over the last couple of seasons indicate that he thinks this collection of guys will be the first ones to break through the Divisional Series glass ceiling. Jed Lowrie is the current shortstop, but he can play second and third in a pinch. Eric Sogard is the second baseman and that can’t sit well with Beane. Adding Cabrera would give them a stronger everyday lineup and increase the bench depth at the same time. Of course, this is what we would call reasonable speculation since the A’s have never been mentioned as a suitor.

Potential Fantasy Impact

A deal to either club would likely help Cabrera’s production, but both teams have different philosophies on how they handle their lineups. The Tigers tend to be a plug in play team as they will play regulars every day. The Athletics like to mix and match their lineups, so he might play less often in that destination. However, both teams produce more than the Indians, so he would have more support. The likelihood of a deal is not great because both teams already have control of their divisions, but a deal makes sense for both clubs.

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