The Rangers announced yesterday they have requested unconditional release waivers on third baseman Asdrúbal Cabrera. Texas designated the 33 year-old for assignment Thursday, an unceremonious end to a one-year, $3.42M contract.
It has been a tough season for the long-productive big leaguer, who has limped to a .235/.318/.393 line in 2019 despite calling hitter-friendly Globe Life Park home. After adjusting for the friendly enviornment, Cabrera’s 81 wRC+ means he’s been 19 percent below league average at the dish, not enough for a player no longer capable of manning shortstop.
There’s little solace to take in the underlying metrics, either. Cabrera remains a fairly patient hitter and is sporting his best walk rate in years, but that has come with a career-high strikeout rate. More worrisome, he’s simply lacked punch at the plate, with Statcast’s batted ball estimators pegging him for an anemic .212 expected batting average and .342 expected slugging percentage. Moreover, Cabrera’s been so pull-oriented this year, particularly on ground balls, he’s been exceptionally easy to defend.
Interested suitors will have to look to Cabrera’s lengthy track record instead. Indeed, he was an above-average hitter for the Mets and Phillies as recently as last season. He’ll almost certainly clear release waivers, then be eligible to sign with another club for the stretch run. Given his struggles this year following a lukewarm offseason market for his services, he may be forced to settle for a minor-league pact. Texas will remain on the hook for the rest of his salary, minus the prorated portion of the league minimum for any MLB time he logs with another organization.