General manager Mike Rizzo is moving quickly to shore up the Nationals infield as the team prepares to defend its championship in 2020.
Veteran Starlin Castro came to terms with the Nats on Friday, and Rizzo has now returned an important mid-season addition from last year to his potential roster for the upcoming campaign, agreeing to a deal with Asdrúbal Cabrera, according to reports posted via Twitter.
The 34-year-old Cabrera hit .323 in 38 games with the Nats, coming over after the Rangers decided to part ways with the 13-year veteran. In his second stint with the Nats - he played for the club for part of 2014 - Cabrera demonstrated savvy at the plate and solid defense to help the team capture its first World Series crown.
With Brian Dozier inconsistent for most of the season, Cabrera provided a key cog for the Nats’ rush to the playoffs, and ended up playing in 12 postseason games, including all seven World Series games, collecting six hits with a double and three RBIs. He also recorded the first out in the bottom of the ninth on a popup from George Springer to help end Game 7.
Cabrera recorded a .983 fielding percentage at second base in 31 games with the Nats, but also got some playing time at third base and first base.
Castro played 117 games at second base last season for the Marlins, but also 45 games at third base.
So, if nothing else, Rizzo has some valuable options at third base, second base and first base heading into 2020. Veterans Castro and Cabrera bring experience in big moments and big games.
The Nats are hoping to lock up Josh Donaldson to play third base, but very few teams can match the Nats’ depth at each infield spot. The Nats could go into the season with Cabrera at third base and do just fine.
With upticks in power numbers expected from Juan Soto and Victor Robles, plus the addition of Castro, the Nats should be able to compensate for some of the offense lost when Anthony Rendon signed with the Angels last month. And if the season started today, Cabrera could start at hot corner.
Jon Heyman and Robert Murray were first to report news of Cabrera’s deal with the Nats.