Asdrúbal Cabrera posted a .235/.318/.393 line, 15 doubles, 12 homers, 38 walks, and 85 Ks in 93 games and 638 plate appearances for Texas, before the Rangers designated him for assignment and released the 33-year-old, 13-year veteran on August 3rd, after he signed a 1-year/$3.5M deal this winter.
Three days later, Cabrera’s deal with the Washington Nationals was official, with Nats’ GM Mike Rizzo bringing the infielder back to the nation’s capital after he’d acquired him at the trade deadline in 2014 for the stretch run that season.
After going 1 for 2 with an RBI single after coming on late in the series finale in PNC Park on Thursday night, Cabrera was 13 for 39 (.333/.426/.615) with five doubles, two home runs, seven walks, and five Ks in 47 PAs since joining the Nationals, as another addition to the big league roster who’s come in and contributed to what Rizzo and manager Davey Martinez’s club are trying to do this season.
“Cabrera — with Howie [Kendrick] down and [Ryan Zimmerman] down, we kind of needed a right-handed bat, an upgrade from what we had,” Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies earlier this month.
“Cabrera was available, I know the kid’s make-up, I know his clutch performance, he’s not afraid to get a big hit.
“He can play third, short, and second, he switch hits, he gives Davey a lot of options off the bench. So he was a really good fit for us.”
Martinez talked this week about what the addition of the versatile infielder has meant to his club.
“We knew just watching Asdrúbal over the years,” he explained, “I mean, he was not having a terrible year, he was still hitting his home runs and driving in runs, when he became available, it was a conversation with [Rizzo] that he would he a good piece to have and he fits, and we talked to him a little bit about playing first base as well, which he was all up for, and we ended up getting him and he’s been unbelievable since he’s been here, not only on the field, but off the field as well, just fits in perfectly with our chemistry.”
Cabrera has started nine games this month, while Nats’ second baseman Brian Dozier was dealing with a salmonella-related illnes, and then missed time to be with his family for the birth of a new child, but now that Dozier is back, how does the second-year skipper plan to handle playing time in the infield?
“We’ll figure out a way to play him and keep him fresh,” Martinez said of Cabrera.
“We’re at the end of August, going into September, so like I’ve said before, everybody is going to get an opportunity, everybody’s got to do their part for us to pull this off.”
Martinez was also asked about how players like Cabrera deal with getting released or dealt at this point in their careers, something the manager knows about, after he played for nine different teams in his 16-year career in the majors, and was traded or granted free agency multiple times.
“It’s tough,” he admitted, “because you don’t know what the outcome is going to be. For me, because I got traded many times during the season late in my career, and it’s more about family, ‘Oh, man, I’ve got to pick up, get my family here, do this,’ but on the other hand, when you do get picked up, you feel pretty good about yourself.
“Hey, there’s a team out there that wants you, and especially a team that’s in the playoff hunt, and you come and you get the ability to help someone win and get to the playoffs.
“For these guys when they come in here, they’re ramped up, they’re ready to go, they want to help, all those guys, all the new guys we got, they’re fired up, they see what’s going on, they love the clubhouse, they love their teammates, so it’s — for them it’s a welcoming — we welcome them in like they’ve been here all year, and they appreciate it.”