The Nationals have signed veteran infielder Asdrúbal Cabrera to a one-year, $2.5 million deal, bringing back yet another member of their 2019 World Series-winning squad. Robert Murray and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman were the first to report news of the deal on Saturday morning, while The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal provided the terms:
Source confirms: Asdrubal Cabrera to #Nationals, one year, $2.5M. On it: @ByRobertMurray and @JonHeyman.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 4, 2020
The 34-year-old Cabrera returned to D.C. last August after being designated for assignment (largely in attempt to gauge his trade value) by the struggling Rangers. He went on to be a valuable presence for the Nationals, starting five of seven games in the World Series as Washington captured its first title in franchise history. Over 514 plate appearances between Texas and Washington, Cabrera had a solid .260/.342/.441 slash line with 18 homers in 2019, including an insane .323/.404/.565 line with six homers in 146 PAs after signing with the Nats.
It’s possible that Cabrera could end up being the Nationals’ primary starting third baseman if they don’t sign Josh Donaldson as a free agent or find another better option through trade. If that’s the case, Cabrera should have what it takes to at least hold the fort down — after being almost exclusively a middle infielder early in his career, he’s spent more time at the hot corner in recent seasons, accumulating 165 major-league games at the position.
With that said, Starlin Castro — who signed a two-year deal with the Nationals on Friday — also began playing third base last season, so he could slide over to third if the Nats end up signing another first baseman as expected and want to plug Howie Kendrick in at second. (For that matter, the Nationals’ infield — for all its defensive inadequacies — is rather versatile, so they could also play Kendrick at third if they want.) Top prospect Carter Kieboom is also a candidate — perhaps a likely one — to unseat a veteran infielder like Kendrick or Cabrera at some point. It’s also not out of the realm of possibilities that fast-rising infield prospect Luis Garcia could reach the majors at some point in 2020, so Washington’s infield may look quite a bit younger by the end of the season than it does right now.