Diamondbacks Need A Shortstop More Than Pitching, Should Pursue Cabrera

By Michael Jenkins

As news continues to come out of the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings, the Arizona Diamondbacks are one of the teams that is consistently linked with making a move. One area that General Manager Kevin Towers has targeted is starting pitching. Why would the D’Backs make a deal for starting pitching (a team strength, in my opinion), when they have other glaring deficiencies that need to be addressed, such as shortstop?

Jul 26, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera (13) points to the dugout after hitting an RBI single in the seventh inning against the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Diamondbacks have been linked recently with a number of starters, from the Oakland A’s Brandon McCarthy to Milwaukee’s Shaun Marcum.  I do not think the Diamondbacks need to add another pitcher at this time. They have three pitchers that are very solid in Ian Kennedy, Wade Miley and Trevor Cahill. Daniel Hudson will be back in July by all accounts and when you add the plethora of rookies they had that made appearances last season (Tyler Skaggs, Trevor Bauer, Patrick Corbin) as starters, the pitching staff will be fine.

When Arizona looks to fill holes in their roster, the need to begin by looking at the shortstop position. Cliff Pennington was recently acquired by the Oakland A’s in the off-season, but he is not the answer and may be moved again as the season progresses. John McDonald is too old and lacks the offensive consistency to be an everyday player. Willie Bloomquist is an average defender and gets on base when he plays, but has been injured quite a bit over the past few seasons.

The ideal fit for the D’Backs would be a shortstop that could provide some offense while manning his position in a fairly consistent manner defensively. One name that keeps popping up in talks is Asdrubal Cabrera of the Cleveland Indians. He originally was mentioned in Justin Upton trade talks, but the Diamondbacks have some talent at the minor league level (pitching, outfield) to potentially make a deal without having to include Upton. Cabrera has a contract until 2015, but his salary increases from $4.55 million this season, to $6.5 million in 2013 and $10 million in 2014.

Cabrera .270 last season with 16 home runs and 68 RBI’s in 143 games for the Indians. He is an obvious upgrade for the Diamondbacks at the position they need the most help. If the Diamondbacks can swing this deal without Upton, the deal would have to send a major league level pitcher or player along with multiple top prospects. A Gerardo Parra, Patrick Corbin and prospects deal might be tempting for the Indians, as reports say they want at least four players in return for the All-Star shortstop.

If the Diamondbacks could obtain Cabrera, it would go a long way towards filling a huge hole for this team moving forward and would vault them into contender status to battle the Giants and the Dodgers in the National League West division this season.