Cabrera back as utilityman on 1-year deal
Moves comes less than a day after Castro signing
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.