Philadelphia Sports Day

Moeller: Cabrera Brings a Solid Bat, But Where Will He Play?





The Phillies jolted the baseball world a bit with the acquisition of Asdrubel Cabrera from the Mets Friday night.

Cabrera strongly was rumored to be on several other team’s radar, notably the Brewers and Red Sox as an instant infield plug-in.

On the surface, Cabrera is a natural fit because of his consistent bat that has yielded 18 homers to the Phillies’ inconsistent offense. But Cabrera isn’t an outfielder by nature, so where does he play?

Scott Kingery has been the Phillies’ most versatile infielder, spending most of his time between second and short. J.P. Crawford likely will be back at short when he returns early next month from an injury.

Kingery has struggled offensively and Crawford had similar woes before he went on the disabled list.

Cabrera’s arrival could also signal less time for Maikel Franco, who continues to be devalued despite having a torrid July with his bat.

This will be a juggling act for manager Gabe Kapler in a pennant race.

“He has a track record of proven success in the batter’s box,” said Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said in a recent conference call. “He’s a switch-hitter, which means every time he is in the batter’s box, we will have the platoon advantage.

“When he’s not playing, I think he’ll be a very dangerous bat off the bench. He’s an excellent roster fit for this current group of Phillies, and notably, I think, his positional flexibility puts us in a position where we can continue to let our young players play. This acquisition doesn’t relegate any of our young players to a full-time bench role, and I think that is important, too.”

The guess here is that Cabrera will see time at all three positons. Unfortunately, he is not known for his glove having five errors for a .986 fielding percentage with the Mets.  He has -18 defensive runs saved at second base this season.

Cabrera played 45 games at shortstop in 2017 and 135 games at shortstop in 2016 and had a combined -15 DRS at shortstop over two years.

If the Phillies had a constant DH, Cabrera is a nature.  The Phillies have three series left with American League teams, an important one in Boston the final week of July.

Still, Cabrera’s bat will help and he also brings a veteran presence.

If he finds a regular spot in the lineup, Cabrera can solidify a postseason run.

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