Born in Venezuela in 1985, Asdrubal Cabrera was brought up through the Seattle Mariners system as an international prospect. Seeing his potential, the Indians promptly traded an aging Eduardo Perez to Seattle for the coveted Cabrera, on June 30, 2006. After toiling in the minors for another year, Cabrera made his major league debut on August 18, 2007. Despite being a late addition to the team, he helped power the Indians to the American League Championship Series against the Boston Red Sox, which ended in heartbreak for the Cleveland. After leading the series 3-1, Boston rallied back over the Indians and would eventually win the World Series that season.
Despite the loss, the Indians realized they had a very talented shortstop in A-Cab. He became a defensive nightmare for opposing teams and even completed an unassisted triple play in 2008, becoming only the 14th MLB player in history to do so. It was an insane play that only a defensive guru like him could pull off. After being sent to the minors following a slow offensive start that year, Cabrera found himself as an everyday player coming into the 2009 season. While the 2009 season seemed like a lost cause for the Indians, Cabrera began to demonstrate considerable potential at the plate, finishing second on the team in runs (81) and third in runs batted in (68).
Unfortunately, from 2012 and beyond, Asdrubal’s numbers began to slip. While providing Cleveland with plenty of contributions still, he just wasn’t able to replicate what he did in 2011. Some fans began to grow frustrated with him, criticizing his work ethic and accusing him of not trying hard enough to get on base. The defensive ability that made him dangerous also began to fade, as he started to commit more errors than he should have. Cabrera also had issues in bringing players home from scoring position, posting low numbers in the important statistic. Regardless, Cabrera wasn’t completely invisible on offense during this time, still possessing a dangerous bat and considerable speed.
Coming into the 2014 season, Cabby had one year remaining on his contract. He still produced at a major league level, just once again not on par with his previous abilities. After being inquired about by several teams, Cleveland decided to trade Asdrubal to Washington, on the last day of the 2014 deadline, for minor leaguer Zach Walters.
I’ll remember Asdrubal as a hard-working player. I was not one who criticized his work ethic and felt he was still out there trying his nest. Usually I felt pretty comfortable with him manning the shortstop position and I knew that despite his inconsistencies on offense, he still had the ability to do damage to any pitcher not taking him seriously. I am grateful we had him in Cleveland for as long as we did and I’m curious to see how he plays in the National League—especially if the Nationals make the playoffs.
Good luck in D.C., Cabby!