While there has been news of a possible New Years resolution involving the Toronto Blue Jays’ chase of Japanese shortstop Takashi Toritani, it appears that the Blue Jays are hedging their bets a bit just in case they can’t work out a deal there. According to Jon Morosi of Fox Sports, who seemingly has the Blue Jays on his mind today, Toronto may possibly still be considering Asdrubal Cabrera as a viable option for the team’s second base need.
Morosi also lists the Yankees, Royals, and Rays as possible landing spots for Asdrubal Cabrera as well, although each has its own issue to address there first. The Yankees earlier this winter traded for Didi Gregorious at shortstop and seem intent to hand the second base job to rookie Rob Refsnyder. The Tampa Bay Rays could trade Ben Zobrist to open up a spot for Cabrera, but that would seem like a downgrade for Tampa. The same could be said for the Royals, who are said to be shopping Omar Infante.
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That all said, Cabrera could solve a need for the Toronto Blue Jays at second base, a position that has been manned by 14 different players in Toronto since the 2011 season. Cabrera made the shift from shortstop to second base after a midseason trade from the Cleveland Indians to the Washington Nationals last season. During his career, Cabrera has seen 1700+ innings of work at the keystone, putting together a career UZR/150 of -2.5 and finding 2 Defensive Runs Saved.
As for his bat, Cabrera is a career .268/.330/.409 hitter with a 104 wRC+. However, his recent seasons have been somewhat of a disappointment, with the switch-hitter failing to crest over the .250 mark or a .400 slugging in either of the last two seasons. However, his Steamer projections (courtesy of FanGraphs) foretell a .251/.316/.397 season with 15 home runs, 66 RBI, and a wRC+ of an even 100.
For comparisons sake, Steamer also projects Ryan Goins, who seems to be the incumbent candidate for the Blue Jays, to hit .240/.279/.329 with 3 home runs, 33 RBI, and a wRC+ of 66 in just over half a season of action. Needless to say, Asdrubal Cabrera would provide a significant offensive upgrade over Goins. However, there is no doubting the defensive downgrade the Blue Jays would experience there.
Given the fact that Cabrera is still available at this point in the winter, and the seemingly small market for him, his early-winter estimated salary (via MLBtr) of 3-years, $27 million seems a bit heavy at this point in the winter. Instead, I could see Cabrera taking a one-year, $6-$7 million deal to re-establish his value and then his the market again next winter. Given the Blue Jays desire to only field a short-term gap to Devon Travis, that could fit into their plans for 2015.