Looking At Everth Cabrera’s Suspension

Earlier today, Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera was one of 12 players to accept a 50-game suspension for his involvement with the Biogenesis PED investigation. The Padres have exactly 50 games remaining this season, so they will lose their 26-year-old shortstop for the remainder of the 2013 campaign. The Padres issued the following statement on the Biogenesis suspensions:

“The Padres fully support Major League Baseball's policy and its efforts to eliminate performance-enhancing drugs from our game. The club will continue to stand behind the Commissioner’s Office to ensure the integrity of baseball.”

Cabrera is in the midst of the finest season of his career, hitting .283/.355/.381 with four homers and an NL-best 37 stolen bases. That stolen base lead comes in spite of a trip to the 15-day DL earlier this season and comes on the heels of his league-leading 44 swipes in 2012 (despite playing just 115 games). 

How does the suspension impact Cabrera's future, though? The Nicaragua native is earning $1.275MM this season after his first venture into arbitration in the 2012-13 offseason. As such, the financial penalty for Cabrera isn't nearly as steep as it is for other players. He'll lose roughly $383K in salary this year as a result of his suspension.

Because he's still going year-to-year through arbitration, however, Cabrera's suspension carries major financial implications for his future. The arbitration process heavily rewards counting statistics, and Cabrera will lose nearly one-third of his opportunities to accumulate those precious stats because of this discipline. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz now projects Cabrera to earn $2.2MM in 2014. Swartz had originally projected Cabrera to earn $2.9MM next season, assuming he would have lived up to his ZiPS rest-of-season projection and finished with a .276 average, five homers, 42 RBIs and 50 stolen bases. All in all, this suspension figures to cost Cabrera roughly $1.083MM in salary from 2013-14 — no small sum for a player who has earned less than $2MM to date throughout his big league career.

The financial implications may not stop there, either. Cabrera entered the season with two years, 144 days of service time. Numerous shortstops — some of whom are solid comparables for Cabrera — have inked long-term deals at this point in their careers. As MLBTR's Extension Tracker shows, Elvis Andrus (three years, $14.4MM) and Alcides Escobar (four years, $10.5MM) signed long-term deals with between two and three years of service time. When I asked Padres GM Josh Byrnes how this disciplinary measure would impact the club's thoughts regarding a long-term deal for Cabrera on a conference call this afternoon, he offered the following response:

"Well, a lot of players over time have been disciplined. I think we'll know a few more facts as we go. You know, we control him for a few more years through the arbitration process. I think we'll sort of evaluate as we go, but I wouldn't foresee a long-term deal until we know more."

It will be interesting to see how the Padres handle Cabrera going forward. It's also worth noting that Cabrera isn't the only young Padres player to serve a suspension in the past year. Yasmani Grandal was suspended for 50 games following the 2012 season and later connected to the Biogenesis clinic. He missed the first 50 games of 2013 but was not disciplined further, as MLB ruled that he had already served his punishment with that previous suspension. Fautino De Los Santos, however, was also one of the 12 players earlier today who accepted a 50-game suspension.

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