The Washington Nationals have acquired infielder Asdrubal Cabrera and cash considerations from the Cleveland Indians, in exchange for minor league infielder Zach Walters. General manager Mike Rizzo took it down to the last couple of hours before the 4 p.m. EST Trade Deadline, but in Cabrera, it looks like the Nationals have solved their second base dilemma.
Cabrera, 28, was signed by the Seattle Mariners as an amateur free agent in 2002. In parts of eight major league seasons, all with the Indians, Cabrera owns a slash line of .270/.331/.410 and has been an All-Star twice (’11, ’12). In 97 games with the Indians this season, Cabrera is hitting .246/.305/.386.
Walters, 24, has hit .234 in 40 career major league games in parts of the last two seasons with the Nationals. The shortstop has done well in the minors this season, hitting .300 with 15 homers, 48 RBIs and a .965 OPS in 60 games with Triple-A Syracuse.
Today’s trade takes care of a major need at second base for the Nationals. When third baseman Ryan Zimmerman suffered a Grade-3 strain in his right hamstring that is expected to keep him out of the lineup for a significant amount of time, Anthony Rendon took over third base duties and the Nationals have been rotating Danny Espinosa, Kevin Frandsen and Walters at second base. The switch-hitting Cabrera will now play second until Zimmerman returns. Cabrera, a shortstop by trade, has not played second base since 2009 but has played 162 games at the position throughout his career.
The infielder will serve as a short-term “rental” for the Nationals, as he is in the final year of a three-year, $21.05 million contract.
The Nationals gave up a good player to get him, but unlike Walters, Cabrera can help the Nationals win this season — a season that could very well last deep into October.
We won’t know for sure if Cabrera can help the team accomplish its goals until it’s all said and done. One thing’s for certain, the Nationals took care of a truly pressing need, and, best of all, they did it without giving up any of their superstar prospects.