2015 Statistics: 143 games, .265/.315/.430, 15 HR, 6.5% BB, 19.4% SO, .164 ISO, 104 wRC+
2016 Age: 30
Position: Middle Infield
The Yankees first met Asdrubal Jose Cabrera back in 2007. Cleveland recalled the switch-hitting middle infielder in August, and he promptly hit his way onto the Indians' postseason roster. He manned second base for the Tribe when they took on the Yankees in the ALDS. It didn't take long for Cabrera to make an impact. In the third inning of Game 1, Cabrera, batting lefty against Chien-Ming Wang, launched a solo home run into the right-field seats. At just 21 years of age, Cabrera became the youngest Indian since Manny Ramirez to go deep in a postseason contest.
Fast-forward several years. After jettisoning Jhonny Peralta, Cleveland slid Cabrera over to short, where he started for the team until 2014. During that period, Cabrera was one of the better shortstops in the American League. In 2011, he hit .273/.332/.460 with 25 home runs and 17 steals, earning both an All-Star nod and a Silver Slugger. The following season, Cabrera earned another All-Star bid.
Midway through 2014, Cleveland dealt Cabrera to Washington for a younger infielder in Zach Walters. Filling in mostly at second base, Cabrera's production dropped with the Nats, as his batting average slid to .229. After the season, Cabrera opted not to return to Capital City, instead inking a one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Rays. Last season, as Tampa's starting shortstop, Cabrera rebounded nicely, slashing .265/.315/.430 with 15 homers. At a salary of $7.5M, the Rays got their money's worth, although it's a bit surprising they never dealt him midseason.
Now 30 years old, Cabrera is back on the market. There will be no shortage of suitors: the Dodgers, Angels, Mets, Brewers, White Sox, Diamondbacks, and Padres are all in clear need of a middle-infield upgrade. Still, Cabrera is the type of competent veteran that might fit the Yankees, especially on a short-term deal.
Cabrera is likely nobody's Plan A. With Howie Kendrick, Daniel Murphy, and Ben Zobrist still available, Asdrubal isn't likely to sign until after the big-money, multi-year guys are off the board. Still, there aren't enough infielders to go around. There never are. Cabrera will likely be offered a starting job somewhere, and there's a chance he could receive a two-year deal. What's more, his value might exceed $10M a year. If it's not already obvious, teams are not exactly hesitant to spend this winter.
Cabrera's switch-hitting abilities would play nicely at the bottom of the Yankee lineup; they have indeed already expressed interest in him. He would give the team a sturdy option at second base if Dustin Ackley falters and/or Rob Refsnyder isn't ready. His presence would also give the team a capable backup shortstop, should Didi Gregorius go down. However, Brendan Ryan is still a superior defender and he's already under contract for just $1M. Is the offensive upgrade worth the cost? Would Cabrera even sign if he had to compete for playing time?
Ultimately, Asdrubal Cabrera would be a nice fit for the Yankees, but the team can only carry four bench players. With Aaron Hicks already aboard, plus a backup catcher and the other half of the Refsnyder/Ackley platoon, it might be a numbers game. Cabrera, ultimately, is a luxury at this point. If you'll indulge my inner Clyde Frazier for a moment, the Yankees would have to pay him & play him. Given the state of the roster and the landscape of the offseason, they probably won't be up for that type of commitment right now.