Oswaldo Cabrera’s rookie breakout in 2022 was always a bit of a surprise. Although he was generally ranked in the top 10-15 on prospect rankings of the Yankees’ organization, he was not a Top 100 guy industry-wide. The Yankees needed help last August and the switch-hitting 23-year-old was having a productive year in Triple-A, so they gave him a shot.
Cabrera rewarded them with a strong .247/.312/.429, 111 wRC+ showing, accumulating 1.5 fWAR in just 44 games (171 PA). A career infielder outside of four very recent appearances in the outfield, the Yankees used him quite a bit in right field and left field, where he exceeded all expectations with his poise and arm. Even though Cabrera slumped to 2-for-28 in the playoffs, the future was suddenly bright!
Well, to once again abuse the overdone Ferris Bueller quote, “Life comes at you fast.” The Yankees felt comfortable enough with Cabrera that they didn’t acquire another outfielder on the free agent or trade market during the 2022-23 offseason. That decision has aged like milk in the sun, as there’s sadly no way to describe Cabrera’s 2023 as anything but awful. He’s hit just .195/.246/.292 with a 46 wRC+ and -0.6 fWAR in essentially the same sample size as his breakout: 50 games (168 PA). The defensive versatility gave him a roster edge over the likes of the Aaron Hicks, but their bats were nearly identical with Hicks posting a 49 wRC+ prior to his release and his Baseball Savant percentiles were oh-so-blue.
So the Yankees faced a bit of a conundrum this week, as they’re planning on activating each of Giancarlo Stanton, Josh Donaldson, and Tommy Kahnle for the Dodgers series beginning on Friday in Los Angeles. The recently-recalled Franchy Cordero and Matt Krook were easy calls to be optioned to clear up two spots. But it was unfortunately also time for Cabrera to hit the road for Scranton.
Following last night’s game, the Yankees optioned INF/OF Oswaldo Cabrera, INF/OF Franchy Cordero and LHP Matt Krook to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.— Yankees PR Dept. (@YankeesPR) June 1, 2023
This isn’t necessarily the end of the road for Oswaldo Cabrera in pinstripes, of course. The good thing is that he remains relatively young with a distinct possibility of returning in the event of further injury since he can play basically anywhere. With a roster as injury-prone as the Yankees, the odds are good that we will see him again in 2023 for more than just a cameo appearance.
Until then, though, Cabrera will certainly have things to work on down in Triple-A. The Yankees will need him at some point, I’m sure.
Today, the Yankees made the following roster moves:— Yankees PR Dept. (@YankeesPR) June 1, 2023
•Returned from rehab and reinstated INF Josh Donaldson (#28) and OF/DH Giancarlo Stanton (#27) from the 10-day injured list.
•Returned from rehab and reinstated RHP Tommy Kahnle (#41) from the 60-day injured list.…
The IL activations have all been made official. The only clerical 40-man move needed was swapping the already-injured Carlos Rodón into Kahnle’s previous 60-day IL spot. This isn’t anything new; Rodón’s just backdated while he rehabs.