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The Nationals had a gaping hole at second base due to the struggles of Danny Espinosa. Now they can move Espinosa back to the bench and limit how exposed he is.
Washington can do that because of the acquisition of Asdrubal Cabrera from the Cleveland Indians as first reported by MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian. Although Cabrera is primarily a shortstop, he has appeared at second base for 162 games between 2007-2009.
Cabrera gets traded after eight years with the Indians. The metrics don’t necessarily love his glove since he has made at least 10 errors in four seasons, including 14 this year.
Cabrera is more a bat and not a bad one. Even with the .246 average this season and the .242 average last year, Cabrera is a .270 hitter, whose average season is 15 home runs and 76 RBI (he has nine and 40 this year).
It’s also a rental for the Nationals since Cabrera is signed through this year while Desmond can be a free agent after next season.
Desmond turned down a long-term extension before this season and various reports indicate that there is little in the minors at shortstop for the Nationals.
Desmond turned down a long-term deal worth about $90 million last offseason and has indicated he wants to stay in Washington, so this strictly is a short-term thing for now.
Washington’s second baseman have batted .231 with eight home runs and 34 RBI this season so even with an average under .250 Cabrera represents a true upgrade. Getting Cabrera took place after the Nationals looked into Daniel Murphy but with the Mets playing better and Sandy Alderson wanting to keep the core, they quickly turned to Cabrera, a two-time All-Star.
From Cleveland’s perspective, the Indians will get infielder Zach Walters, who has potential but also has inconsistencies making contact. He’s a switch-hitter who could play shortstop and batted .300 with 15 home runs and 48 RBI for Triple-A Syracuse
By trading Cabrera this could open the position up for prospect Francisco Lindor. Lindor was recently promoted to Triple-A Columbus and has been regarded highly defensively to go along with a good bat. That move may happen soon or the Indians could resist the temptation and wait until September for Lindor.
So this was a trade designed to fill an opening for contending team and create one for a struggling team.
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