The Cardinals are planning to designate left-handed reliever Genesis Cabrera for assignment today, reports Katie Woo of The Athletic. They’ll have a week to trade him or attempt to pass him through outright waivers once the move is official.
Cabrera, 26, posted a sharp 3.41 ERA in 92 1/3 innings with the Cards from 2020-21, but he’s never displayed even average command at the MLB level and has struggled over the past two seasons. Dating back to Opening Day 2022, the southpaw carries a 4.82 ERA with a below-average 20.8% strikeout rate and much higher-than-average 11.3% walk rate. Cabrera’s heater averaged 97.9 mph during 2021, arguably his peak season, but that velocity is down two miles per hour from that level in 2023, sitting at 95.9 mph. He’s also been extremely home-run prone dating back to last year, averaging 1.64 home runs per nine innings pitched.
Even with the downturn in velocity and pedestrian strikeout rate over the past two seasons, there’s still some reason to believe Cabrera is capable of more. Averaging roughly 96 mph from the left side is of note, even if that’s down from peak levels, and Cabrera sports a very strong 13.6% swinging-strike rate this season. He’s also induced chases off the plate at an above-average 32.6% clip. There’s little doubt that Cabrera has intriguing raw stuff, and another team may have a different plan to maximize his arsenal.
Beyond his power repertoire, Cabrera is affordable ($950K salary in 2023), controllable and has a minor league option remaining. He entered the current season with just over three years of Major League service time, so he can be controlled through the 2025 campaign. He’s unlikely to fetch a major price in a trade, but another club could view him as an interesting buy-low candidate who could contribute not just this year but for another two seasons.
Cabrera’s DFA figures to be the first of a broad-reaching slate of roster changes for the Cardinals in the next few weeks. President of baseball operations John Mozeliak has already suggested that the 2024 season will be his focus at this year’s deadline, and the Cards are expected to at the very least shop rental players like Jordan Montgomery, Jack Flaherty, Jordan Hicks, Paul DeJong and Chris Stratton. Broader-reaching changes are possible — the Cards have a glut of MLB-ready outfielders, for instance — but the Cardinals aren’t expected to trade core players and have given no indication that a larger-scale teardown is coming as a result of this year’s disastrous season.