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Diamondbacks have signed Asdrubal Cabrera

Bench Bat, Utility infielder , or Starter ?

Philadelphia Phillies v Washington Nationals Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Jon Heyman has tweeted out:

The 35 year old switch hitter from Venezuela has had 14 year major league career to date. Originally signed by the Mariners as an amateur free agent in 2002, he was traded to the Cleveland Indians and made his major league debut for that organization in 2007.

The Diamondbacks will be his 7th organization, having also played with the Nationals, (two stints), Rays, Mets, Phillies and Rangers.

In over 7000 MLB PA, Cabrera has a career .268/.330/.426 slash line, with a 106 OPS+ and 29 bWAR or 27.5 fWAR. Since 2011 he’s averaged 17 HR per season. Over the last two seasons he has a 98 OPS+ in 727 PA, batting .254/.331/.443. Baseball Reference page.

His career splits show an almost equal OPS vs. Right hand and Left hand pitching. He hits righties for a bit more power, but lefties for more average.

The versatile Cabrera can play SS, 2b, 3b and even some 1b. However the defensive metrics at Baseball Reference and Fangraphs both rate him below average, as he has a career -67 rDRS, and -45 UZR. But there is good news in that Baseball Savant rates him positively in OAA (Outs Above Average) LINK . If the Savant numbers are to be believed, than Cabrera is underrated by WAR.

While I’ve seen some speculation online that the team intends to use Cabrera every day in the infield and that means Ketel Marte would play CF. I’m not so sure that’s the case. I think he is more likely to be a veteran utility infielder. Deferring to Zach Buchanan, he seems to agree.

Cabrera’s depth chart projection at Fangraphs calls for a .255/.322/.437 , .759 OP, 97 wRC+ in 315 PA

If he can match that, which is what he’s done the last two years, and avoid the typical aging curve drop in production one might expect from a 35 year old, he could be a solid addition to the bench. On the other hand, if he’s getting more than 300 PA, and it’s not due to injuries clearing playing time, it would be somewhat questionable to give that playing time to an aging veteran when you have plenty of young players to develop.

If he’s here to play 2b every day and they’re moving Ketel to CF, then it begs the question what happens in 2022 when Corbin Carroll, (Or Alek Thomas) are ready to take over in Center ? Just bounce Ketel back to 2b? I don’t think that’s the plan though. We’ll just have to see what the team says in the coming days and weeks.