Indians Trade Asdrubal Cabrera to Nationals


As I mentioned yesterday when the Indians traded starting pitcher Justin Masterson to the Cardinals, the Tribe could still look to contend while simultaneously trading away impending free agents.

Well, they’ve struck again.

The Indians announced that they’ve traded shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and cash to the Washington Nationals in exchange for infielder Zach Walters. The Indians will reportedly pay all of the remaining $3.33 million on Cabrera’s contract, and the team is said to be very high on Walters.

The Nationals, meanwhile, announced the deal as well.

Cabrera, 28, was originally acquired by the Indians in 2006 from the Mariners in a lopsided deal that saw the Tribe send Eduardo Perez to Seattle. Cabrera blossomed into a two-time All-Star with the Indians (2011-12), and hit .270/.331/.410 in parts of 8 seasons in Cleveland. Over that time, he added 82 home runs and 430 RBI, though 64 of his long balls have come since 2011.

May 18, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals shortstop Zach Walters (4) at bat against the New York Mets at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: The Nationals won 6-3. Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

But Cabrera hasn’t been completely the same the past two seasons, and he was hitting .246/.305/.386 in 416 plate appearances for the Tribe this season prior to the deal. Advanced metrics think of his bat as slightly below league average, though he’s much more valuable considering he plays a middle infield position.

However, much has been made of his inconsistent fielding at shortstop, but he’ll play second base for the Nationals anyway given that Washington has Ian Desmond at short.

On behalf of Indians fans, I’d like to thank Cabrera for everything he did in Cleveland, and I wish him the best of luck with the Nationals.

Walters, meanwhile, is a 24-year old infielder with defensive experience all across the diamond. He’s collected 52 total big league plate appearances since his debut in 2013, over which he’s hit .234/.308/.489. His minor league numbers are much better, however, as he has a collective .280/.327/.479 line since his professional debut in 2010.

His 29 long balls for the Nationals’ Triple-A affiliate in Syracuse last season tied for the league lead, and he held the outright lead in extra base hits with 66. He has 15 more long balls with Syracuse this season, and  a .300./358/.608 line there overall this season.

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Walters was originally a 9th-round draft choice of the Diamondbacks in 2010, and was traded from Arizona to the Nationals in 2011 in exchange for a “marquis” pitcher: Jason Marquis. (I’m sorry for my lame puns.)

For now, Walters will report to Triple-A Columbus, and could certainly get playing time with the Indians in the very near future. Scouts say that he’ll most likely end up as a utility player, but there’s a place for those guys in the majors, especially when they have power like Walters does.

The Indians are probably done making trades before today’s deadline, but be sure to follow Wahoo’s on First for all the latest news and rumors.