3:30pm: Cabrera’s incentives are tied to plate appearances, and max out with his 500th turn at the dish, Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com tweets.
8:17am: The Orioles on Wednesday announced that they’ve added some infield insurance by agreeing to a one-year, Major League deal with former Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera. The Scott Boras client will reportedly earn $2.4MM and has the opportunity to earn as much as $600K more via incentives.
That guarantee makes Cabrera the largest investment of the offseason for the O’s. He comes in just ahead of those given to the team’s two other major league signings this offseason: Delmon Young ($2.25MM) and Wesley Wright ($1.7MM).
Cabrera, 28, was non-tendered by the Padres earlier in the offseason. He is coming off of an undeniably rough stretch in his personal and professional life. A 50-game PED suspension cut short an otherwise promising 2013 campaign, and Cabrera is still facing possible jail time relating to a charge for resisting arrest. And when he was on the field last year, Cabrera largely disappointed, hitting a meager .232/.272/.300 in his 391 plate appearances and seeing his stolen base tally drop to 18.
Of course, those issues come with undeniable upside. Over the 2012-13 campaigns, the switch-hitter slashed .264/.339/.352 and swiped 84 bags in an even hundred attempts. With solid defense at short thrown into the mix, Cabrera has played at a 3+ WAR clip for the better part of a MLB season.
As MLBTR’s Steve Adams recently noted, one attractive aspect of Cabrera is the fact that he comes with team control for another year. That effectively amounts to a club option, with the value to be determined through the arbitration process. Speaking of options, as Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com notes on Twitter, Cabrera can be optioned for one more season. That is another nice bit of flexibility, especially for an Orioles club that makes heavy use of the shuttle between the bigs and Triple-A.
Given that Baltimore has committed to J.J. Hardy for three more years, Cabrera would figure to provide competition at second base and another utility option. While Jonathan Schoop handled himself well at the position defensively, he struggled mightily at the plate. The two could be deployed in some kind of platoon capacity, of course, though Schoop bats from the right side and Cabrera has traditionally fared better against left-handed pitching. Baltimore also has used the left-handed-hitting Ryan Flaherty quite a bit over the past two years, but could find himself battling with Schoop for a roster spot.
Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun first reported that the deal was close (Twitter links). He also tweeted the financial guarantee. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported that the deal had been finalized and that it included incentives, via Twitter.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.