The Rangers have signed two-time All-Star infielder Asdrubal Cabrera to a one-year, $3.5 million deal, per reports from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and ESPN’s Jeff Passan on Tuesday morning:
#Rangers in agreement with free-agent IF Asdrubal Cabrera on a one-year contract, sources tell The Athletic. Deal will be for less than $5M. Pending physical. Cabrera will play third base.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 22, 2019
Free agent infielder Asdrubal Cabrera and the Texas Rangers are in agreement on a one-year, $3.5 million deal, pending a physical, league sources tell ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 22, 2019
As Rosenthal alluded to in his tweet, Cabrera will serve as the Rangers’ primary third baseman. They had an opening at that position after Adrian Beltre retired and Jurickson Profar was dealt to the Athletics, though slugger Joey Gallo was perhaps a candidate to shift back to his natural candidate prior to the Cabrera signing. With Ronald Guzman likely to serve as Texas’ starting first baseman, it seems that Gallo will play mostly in the outfield — where he played 108 games spread across all three spots last season — when he’s not serving as a designated hitter.
The 33-year-old Cabrera has shifted all over the infield throughout his 12-season career, breaking in with the Indians as a second baseman and then shifting to shortstop on a full-time basis at the beginning of this decade. He played almost exclusively at second after being traded to the Nationals at the deadline in 2014, moved back to shortstop with the Rays in 2015, then for various stretches was the Mets’ primary starter at each of second base, shortstop, and third base. He saw action at both short and third after being dealt to the Phillies at the deadline last summer. With that previous experience — and since the Rangers have Gallo and former Cardinal Patrick Wisdom as potential fill-ins at third base — it’s possible that Cabrera could end up shifting to the middle infield at some point if Elvis Andrus or Rougned Odor suffers an injury.
Cabrera, an AL Silver Slugger in 2011, had a very solid season offensively in 2018, posting a .262/.316/.458 slash line with 23 homers (tied for his highest total since he hit 25 in ‘11) over 592 plate appearances. For his career, he’s a .269/.330/.424 hitter, and his power should play up at Globe Life Park, meaning the Rangers have a good chance at getting plenty of excess value for the $3.5 million — basically pocket change for an effective veteran — that they spent on him.