Why The Cardinals Should Pursue Asdrubal Cabrera
Rumors are already swirling in the young off-season and one of the more recent rumors is that the Indians star shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera might be on the trade market. If that is true the Cardinals could be a perfect trading partner for the Indians. Both teams have met on the trading block as recently as 2010 when the Cardinals traded for Jake Westbrook, and in 2009 when the Cardinals acquired utility man Mark DeRosa. There are many reasons why I think this trade is not only a possibility but could be the perfect match for both organizations.
1. Trading Match
Many teams would be interested in Cabrera if he does in fact hit the trade block, but not many can actually fulfill the Indians needs like the Cardinals could. The Indians have really struggled in their rotation since trading away C.C Sabathia, Cliff Lee, and the not-so good acquisition of Ubaldo Jimenez. The Cardinals have a plethora of young pitching including Lance Lynn, Joe Kelly, Jaime Garcia, Trevor Rosenthal, Shelby Miller, and others. Another area of weakness for the Indians over the past few years has been first base. The Cardinals have Matt Carpenter, Matt Adams, and Allen Craig who could potentially be playing first base for the team in the future. I doubt the club will part ways with Craig, but Adams has huge potential as we saw last season. The Cardinals could easily make a package surrounding Adams and a young starting pitcher or two for the star short stop.
2. Cardinals need a shortstop
Last season Rafael Furcal was superb for the first two months of the season, then his age and injuries kicked in until he eventually was put on the DL for the remainder of the season. Pete Kozma flourished in September but his minor league stats and prior MLB experience has shown that he is never going to live up to the hype that once surrounded him. Meanwhile Ryan Jackson‘s numbers in the minor leagues were not anything special and his brief stint on the Cardinals was rather pathetic. Furcal is expected to be back at some point next season, but he could also need surgery which would put him out for considerable time. Either way, Furcal is no longer a starting short stop so the Cardinals need to take a look at some outside options. Stephen Drew is a guy the Cardinals have targeted in the past, but JD’s younger brother has struggled with his fair share of injuries the last few seasons, and his play has been nothing special. So this is where Cabrera is a perfect match, not only is he 27 years old, but he is still under contract through 2014. That gives the Cardinals at least two years of Cabrera at starting shortstop, and that sounds good to me.
3. Cabrera is a damn good player
Cabrera is one of those short stops that can do it all; he is one of the best defensive shortstops in the game, and his offense has improved dramatically the past few seasons. Last season, for instance, he managed to bat .270 with 16 homers, and 68 RBI with a very bad Cleveland Indians team. Cabrera is a two time All Star and a Silver Slugger winner with the potential to win a gold glove award. For his career he is a .279 hitter with 59 homers, 326 RBI, and 53 stolen bases in parts of six seasons with the Indians.
The Cardinals haven’t had a solid shortstop really since Edgar Renteria left following 2004 (unless you are an Eckstein lover like me). Either way, Cabrera could be the answer to the Cardinals biggest problem over the past few seasons. Think about it: in Cabrera, the Cardinals would finally have the star shortstop that the team and the fans have been craving. Sure, it will sting to lose some great prospects like Adams, Kelly, Lynn, or others, but think of it this way: the Cardinals have plenty of pitching throughout their system and also have Craig permanently installed at first base for the next few years. Attaining Cabrera would be a much-needed piece to solidify an already-dangerous team.