Cabr­era back as util­i­ty­man on 1-year deal

Moves comes less than a day af­ter Cas­tro sign­ing

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - SPORTS - By Sam Fortier

The Wash­ing­ton Na­tion­als on Satur­day morn­ing brought more of the band back from their World Serieswin­ning ros­ter, sign­ing vet­eran util­ity in­fielder As­drúbal Cabr­era to a one-year, $2.5 mil­lion deal, a per­son with knowl­edge of the deal con­firmed to The Post.

The move comes less than 24 hours af­ter they signed a sim­i­lar player, Star­lin Cas­tro, who fig­ures to also play sec­ond or third base.

This does not pre­clude the Na­tion­als from the Josh Don­ald­son sweep­stakes, but the team seems to be pre­par­ing for the pos­si­bil­ity it will not sign the vet­eran third base­man, the big­gest prize left on the free-agent mar­ket and some­one who would be a vi­tal ad­di­tion af­ter An­thony Ren­don’s de­par­ture. The Na­tion­als now have three play­ers — Howie Ken­drick, Cabr­era and Cas­tro — who played three po­si­tions last sea­son, though none was a plus de­fender any­where.

This move gives the Na­tion­als 10 or 11 po­si­tion play­ers, de­pend­ing on whether you count up-and-down out­fielder Michael A. Tay­lor, mean­ing there seems to be about three spots left on the ros­ter.

It’s un­clear how the Na­tion­als might fur­ther ad­dress their in­field, with or with­out Don­ald­son. They now have three ag­ing util­ity men in Ken­drick, Cabr­era and Cas­tro and no clear roles for the lat­ter two.

Wash­ing­ton also does not seem to have an ev­ery­day start­ing first base­man, with Matt Adams and Ryan Zim­mer­man re­main­ing un­signed. It’s pos­si­ble Ken­drick could slot there most days, and the Na­tion­als could again man­age his play­ing time with a ro­ta­tion that in­cludes Cabr­era.

The Na­tion­als could still be in the mar­ket for a start­ing third base­man, part-time first base­man and an­other util­ity in­fielder. De­pend­ing on what hap­pens at third, the bench could look like this: a catcher, Ken­drick or a first base­man, Cabr­era, Tay­lor and one from among Wilmer Difo, Adrián Sánchez and Carter Kieboom. Kieboom, the team’s top prospect, could start the sea­son at Triple-A Fresno.

The glar­ing hole is third base, a po­si­tion the Na­tion­als haven’t had to worry about since 2013, when Ren­don ar­rived in the ma­jors and turned the po­si­tion into a strength as he blos­somed into one of the league’s best. Now, though, in the ab­sence of a trade for a more proven player, the Na­tion­als may fill that hole by re­ly­ing on a pla­toon that in­cludes Cas­tro and Cabr­era.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.