One of the best under-the-radar free agents of the offseason is officially off the market, as infielder Asdrubal Cabrera has agreed to a contract.

According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the 29-year-old native of Venezuela has inked a deal with the Tampa Bay Rays:

Joel Sherman of the New York Post confirmed the deal and provided some details on the length:

Cabrera is a two-time All-Star who garnered plenty of interest in free agency due both to his pop and his positional versatility.

Although he has played the bulk of his games at shortstop, he is also a capable second baseman. In fact, after the Washington Nationals acquired Cabrera in a trade with the Cleveland Indians last season, he served as their full-time starter at second.

Since Cabrera held his own at second base, most of the teams that kicked the tires on him in free agency did so with the thought that he would man that position in 2015 and beyond, per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports:

Cabrera also has one career appearance at third base. With that in mind, San Francisco Giants assistant general manager Bobby Evans revealed that the team’s potential plan to sign him and play him at third wasn’t something Cabrera was overly receptive to, according to Alex Pavlovic of the San Jose Mercury News:

While Cabrera’s ability to play around the diamond is a definite perk, his true value is at the plate. He won a Silver Slugger Award in 2011 by hitting .273 with 25 home runs and 92 RBI. His production has slipped since then, but he provides some power from positions that aren’t always conducive to it.

Cabrera’s numbers over the past two campaigns are nearly identical, as he hit just over .240 with 14 home runs in each season. Although he would probably like to get his batting average closer to his career mark of .268, the rest of his batting statistics are respectable.

Add in the fact that Cabrera is a switch-hitter capable of hitting essentially anywhere in the order, and it becomes clear why the Rays signed him. 

After the 2014 season, Cabrera expressed interest in staying with the Nationals, but he added that being on a winning team was his most important value, per James Wagner of The Washington Post:

I would love to stay here. A lot of good guys. A good team. I would love to stay here. But it’s not my decision. … I don’t know. It depends. A team like this team, a winning team, I would love to play second and love to stay here. I just want to win. I’ve got eight seasons already. I want to be in the World Series one day.

It remains to be seen if Cabrera will reach his ultimate goal of playing in the World Series, but he should have plenty of good years ahead of him.

He has also shown that he is an excellent complementary player who can contribute heavily to a winning cause, so it won’t be surprising if Cabrera ultimately turns out to be one of the offseason’s biggest steals.


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