WEDNESDAY: The signing is now official. Per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter), the contract allows Cabrera to earn $100K at 200 MLB plate appearances and then $150K apiece if he can make it to 250, 300, 350, 400, 450, and/or 500 trips to the dish. The opt-out date is June 1st.
TUESDAY: Cabrera can earn at a $1MM annual rate and achieve up to another million in incentives, on Heyman of Fan Rag tweets. There’s an opt-out date as well, though full details remain unreported.
Cabrera, 33, went unsigned over the just-completed offseason after a poor finish to his 2017 campaign with the Royals. But he had been an above-average offensive performer in the first half of the season and ended with an overall .285/.324/.423 slash line and 17 home runs for the year.
The switch-hitting Cabrera has turned in quality output at times with the bat, with approximately equal success against both left- and right-handed pitching, though he has rarely strung together good seasons in succession. In his thirteen total seasons at the game’s highest level, he carries a cumulative .286/.335/.418 batting line with 131 home runs. Cabrera has never been regarded highly for his glovework, though, and has also graded poorly on the bases in recent seasons.
Despite the inconsistencies, Cabrera’s most recent contract prior to this one paid him rather handsomely. On the heels of a quality 2014 effort with the Blue Jays, he inked a three-year, $42MM deal with the White Sox.
For the Indians, there’s little risk in giving Cabrera a shot at rediscovering his offensive form. While the club is pacing the AL Central, they have just three players currently sporting above-average overall work at the plate. Cabrera could provide an option as a DH or in the corner outfield, though he’ll surely need some time ramping up before he’ll be ready to join the MLB roster.