Though he remains a cornerstone player in Cleveland's organization, Indians All-Star shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera is still likely to be moved this offseason, according to a report by Jayson Stark of ESPN.com.
Stark polled a number of executives at baseball's winter meetings on the topic of which key player they believe will be traded in the coming months, and Cabrera's name came in a close second behind only Tampa Bay's James Shields. Due to the fact that both middle infield positions are extremely depleted in free agency this winter, a number of contenders are expected to scramble to acquire a big-name shortstop of Cabrera's level. According to Stark, a handful of eager candidates have already surfaced:
"I know the direction they're going and what they're looking for," one AL exec said. "And I think they find a taker. When Stephen Drew is the best [free-agent] option out there, they've just got too many ways to go [to move Cabrera]."
The Diamondbacks, Rays and A's have all been connected to Cabrera this winter. And given that the Indians want young, high-upside pitching back, all those teams are excellent fits. But the price might actually be so high that, as one NL exec said: "In the end, he ain't going anywhere. I know what they're looking for. And if the price stays the same, I can't imagine he'll get traded."
Still just 27 years old, Cabrera hit .270 with 16 home runs and 68 RBIs this past year for the Indians. He is widely recognized as one of the most well-rounded players at his position, and could easily command two or three top pitching prospects in return through any possible trade. Although one National League executive isn't convinced that Cabrera will be moved this offseason, it may be difficult to get a read on Cleveland's organization right now as it attempts to usher in a new era.