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Cabrera for Walters....was it worth it?

Cabrera for Walters....was it worth it?
Asdrubal Cabrera (Photo: AP)
July 31, 2014
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Asdrubal Cabrera was a guy who everyone knew would be traded. His expiring deal and the Indians depth at shortstop made it pretty clear he would end the season with another team.

Indians fans grew to dislike Asdrubal over the years. It got to the point where fans could not see the value in him despite what the numbers showed. Is Asdrubal a great player? No. He isn’t really a good player anymore.

Cabrera is just a good player for shortstop. There are so few shortstops that can post an OPS near .700 anymore. Half the league can’t find such a player. People say he had a down year and wasn’t worth much, yet he was still top 10 among all shortstops in OPS and home runs. Yet the dislike runs deep, and I am sure the comments section for this piece will reflect that.

The other thing which should have helped the Indians in a deal is the fact that there were a lot of teams looking for up the middle help and there were not a lot of players on the market. It was basic supply and demand.

The Indians received a single player back from the Nationals in Zach Walters, a utility bat. In 2013 he was the 10th rated prospect for the Nationals by Baseball America. He has played a few games in the majors but has been a guy who has bounced back and forth from the minors.

Walters is a mixed bag as player.

The positives on him are excellent pop for a middle infielder. He lead the entire International League in home runs last year with 29 and is on pace for 30 home runs again this year. He also has a very strong arm which has allowed him to play all over the infield. He is a switch-hitter who has played shortstop, third, and second in the minors. He has legit power. He has taken a step forward this year in almost every stat, but it is also his third year in Triple-A.

The downside is outside of the power I don’t see any average skills with the bat. Last year his strikeout to walk ratio was 6:1, one of the worst I have ever seen in a player. It has improved this year to 3:1 this year, but again, this is after 200 games in Triple-A. Another point is he is much stronger from the left side so in spite of being a switch-hitter he doesn’t help the team issues from the right side. Typically by now a player who teams consider a priority player would have had more than 47 at bats in the majors.

The Indians have had some success with lesser players in deals over the years. Yan Gomes was a virtual no one in prospect circles before the Indians targeted him. In Walters maybe the Indians feel his improvement this year is legit and just not the results of a player repeating the level. He brings some much needed power to the Indians organization and some versatility.

The upside to Walters is pretty much Mike Aviles but with much more pop and worse on-base skills. Again, to me that is his ceiling at this point, but then again I thought Gomes was a future backup as well. So hopefully I am wrong here too.

I just can’t be as happy as I was yesterday as Ramsey was a much better prospect. As a matter of fact, Ramsey is one of the top three prospects to be traded at this year’s deadline, at least to me.

Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffmlbdraft, or email him at jellis121@yahoo.com

User Comments

Jimmy
August 1, 2014 - 6:00 PM EDT
I think that after watching Zach that he will not be of any help this year due to command. I like J Ram playing short due to speed and being switch hitter. I still think that Perez should be DH with Swisher, who is trying to get started but? I think that J Ram should lead -off with Jason, Lonnie, Santana, Michael - CF, Gomes, Perez - DH, Swisher or Murphy - RF and Mike A - LF. Our defense - infield has been very good with J Ram, Jason, Lonnie and Santana. If only Terry would listen since we must have all our bats in there and people that are hitting need to be at top of line-up since they will get more bats than bottom half.
Korey, Danny, Trevor being our three pitchers that will battle very hard, these are our core. 4th and 5th pitcher should be Carlos C, House or bring up someone in system like we did last year with Danny and see how they pitch in the big leagues. If it is Carlos C., then bring Josh Tomlin to bull pen.
I hope that management realizes that we must get on a roll stay with a set line-up for the rest of the season. Let the hitters hit and the other bat in bottom of order or ride the pines. Please Terry listen. Cleveland fans desire it. If we lose with our best team on the field, we lose. No more letting everyone play to be nice. Go Tribe!!!!
Mike
August 1, 2014 - 5:02 PM EDT
Juan Uribe is another encouraging comp, especially given the consistency and length of his career. It's amazing how many different positions he's played at the highest level of so many years.
Mike
August 1, 2014 - 4:58 PM EDT
Homer, thanks for those thoughtful comments. Kelly Johnson has had real value over his career, especially in his younger years.

I still believe the crush of ML ready middle infield prospects will arm us best for a trade for a pitcher, hopefully left handed and hopefully under our control for several years to come. When Houston briefly was being talked about as making Dallas Keuchel available, for example, I was very excited about the idea of trading for him.
John M
August 1, 2014 - 2:58 PM EDT
Mike,

Sounds to me like you're describing Russell Branyan without the massive power.
hawk1228
August 1, 2014 - 12:34 PM EDT
I still have to wonder if Tampa got value from that trade.Could we have possibly turned Asdrubal into Price by sending Walters and maybe the catcher Mejia at the Valley and one or a combintaion of one of our pitchers not named Kluber Salazar or Bauer If I am reading reports out of Tampa it is the Adames kid that made the deal
but if Price had to land in Detroit we were not going to overtake them this year and next years staff will consist of Porcello Price Verlander Sanchez which is still very good but Verlander is not the same Sanchez is showing he is human and there is a void left by Smyly Not sure if this is going to help that team get where they want to go I love Oaklnds staff at this time
Jeff P
August 1, 2014 - 9:43 AM EDT
I'm not sure how anyone can be upset with these moves, or the return we received. Masterson and been horrid and Asdrubal mediocre at best, and both are gone in 2 months. In return we receice two guys who are now top 10 prospects in our organization. Walters will be up by September at the latest and will probably open in a bench role next year. He brings something we desperately needed, and that is power. He can play basically anywhere, is a switch hitter, is only 24. If he hits for a high enough average he's going to have a long major league career. Ramsey has a chance to compete for a role next season, depending on whether we can possibly flip Murphy. 1st round talent, high character, solid platoon bat probably at the worst, and a guy who could develop ala Brantley at the best. These guys are basically major league ready, give us even more depth for swinging a deal for pitching, and all for 2 guys who were long gone and quite frankly, are easily replacable both in the short and long term. Win-win
Homer
August 1, 2014 - 9:19 AM EDT
@Mike,

Walters can play all four infield positions and the corners. He's 6'2 220, but he gained 25lbs since becoming pro so he has lost some range at SS, but could still man it in a pinch. He's also lost some foot speed, but gained some power with the added bulk.

I'd profile Walters to any of 3b, RF, LF, 2b, and 1b. The Tribe reportedly will have him working at 2b. He has the arm to play 3b, RF but defense is not his forte. I likened Walters to LH hitting Kelly Johnson, now of the Red Sox. Johnson can play 1b, 3b, 2b, RF and LF. Johnson is a career .250 hitter avg. about 15 hr 20+ dbls and 110+ K's.

I would project Zach Walters to be a UTL type playing 2b, 3b, 1b, RF, and LF over his career. He will play avg to fringe defense, but will bring his bat off the bench. I would project Walters to hit about .225-.250 15-20 hrs 20-25 dbls 100+ K's. Walters won't earn very many walks, but can impact a game with his power. He's got legit 30+ hr power. Honestly, he's a guy I think could really frustrate some fans (and mgmt), bc he seems likely to post a near 20% K rate. If he learns to pick and choose his swings a bit he could be a nice add to the bench long term.
Tony
August 1, 2014 - 9:09 AM EDT
I agree on Aviles being a poor comp. I see Walters as more of a Juan Uribe type (more pop, less defense) than an Aviles guy.
Homer
August 1, 2014 - 8:59 AM EDT
I think we will see the Tribe use their infield depth and outfield depth to acq. an arm or two this offseason. I'm a little surprised we didn't hear more action on Ian Kennedy. Maybe the Padres price is too high with him. He could be a target for the Tribe in the future.

After seeing the Cards trade Joe Kelly and Allen Craig to Boston for John Lackey and prospect Corey Littrell, I thought - would have liked either one for Masterson. I think Craig may have been too expensive with the risk involved for the Tribe. Kelly is a talented young SP that has been hampered by a hamstring injury.

The Tribe was reportedly in on Alex Rios. No word what TX wants in return, but I would have offered Murphy back and a cpl prospects.

Some of the Tribes biggest (potential) trade chips were injured...Naquin, Wendle, and Anderson. I'm curious if those names came up in trade talks or if their injuries hindered moving them.

I wouldn't be surprised to see the Tribe make a few moves during August. They might acq. a piece or two or just dump Murphy or Axford. They might net a fringe prospect in return or a young bullpen arm (like they need more). Then there's Scrabble, who might get some attn if he is placed on waivers. The Tribe has Hagadone and Crockett, but doesn't need to move Scrabble. However, he's likely due $2-$2.5M in arb. this offseason so there is a possibility the Tribe tries to move him for a young SP in return.

Mike
August 1, 2014 - 8:59 AM EDT
With greater pop and less on-base, his ceiling is obviously not another Mike Aviles type player. There's a better comp out there with a little more thought I'm sure. The problem is that you don't usually see utility guys profile this way; usually you see better on-base skills and zero pop, along with defensive athleticism. Does Walters profile out better as a third baseman or left fielder?
Nick
August 1, 2014 - 6:44 AM EDT
@Larry

They try to make deals for many, many players. How serious those pursuits are is another question. As for the reasons I mentioned, I think those dictate why their pursuit of Milone was not an all out endeavor.

The Tribe has stockpiled a good amount of young middle infield talent and that will come in handy I suspect this off-season when looking for young SP talent.
Larry
August 1, 2014 - 5:25 AM EDT
I'm sorry Nick I just read your comment. Antonetti said he was trying to make a deal for Milone, you said he did not fit in your plans. Who were you trying to trade for?
Ron
July 31, 2014 - 11:43 PM EDT
Walters won't be/shouldn't be playing SS. Had 58 errors at SS for '12 & '13. They moved him off of SS to 2B this year.
Joe Chengery
July 31, 2014 - 10:51 PM EDT
Not that impressed with Millone and don't think missing out on him is that big a deal- we have a comparable, younger version in House, and wouldn't have held onto Millone long-term anyway.

I don't have a problem on the Cabrera return- Cabrera didn't have much value- I seen where Walters was the 9th-rated prospect, I think, heading into this year (via Baseball America, I think; was 10th going into 2013, I believe).

And, again, Francona's slow response to making changes is costing the Indians- how long is he going to keep sending Shaw out in the 8th inning? Shaw hasn't been good in that role for two months now, and you can't use the excuse he's been overused anymore. Why they don't shift Carrasco to that role if they're not going to put him back into the rotation is baffling to me. Personally, I would put Carrasco back in that rotation since McAllister appears as if he is going to be erratic all year, and House has been more erratic of late as well, never mind the fact Carrasco has a higher ceiling than both of them.

Still, if you're not going to do that, or not this year, at least, put Carrasco in the 8th inning- he's thrown far more strikes and been far more effective than Shaw the last two months. Just as Francona took too long to move Kipnis and Swisher out of the middle of that order (and Swisher's still there!), he's doing the same thing with Shaw. I would have moved him out of there not long after the All-Star Break at the latest. He's already cost the Indians a few wins the last few months, and every win is crucial, especially now, if the Indians have ANY chance of making the postseason in 2014.
Nick
July 31, 2014 - 9:35 PM EDT
@Larry,

Milone is arb eligible after this year and his adjusted ERA is league average; to boot, he's 27. Not worth it and doesn't fit the age/contract we are shooting for.
Larry
July 31, 2014 - 9:05 PM EDT
Milone's era for his three years 3.74, 4.15 and 3.56 not to bad.
yourtribe
July 31, 2014 - 8:57 PM EDT
Tondo agree on moving Lonnie.

Zach has shown little this year. Very disappointing.
Tondo
July 31, 2014 - 8:55 PM EDT
Oh, and as for Milone:

4.4 ERA outside of OAK Coliseum, 4.55 from 2011-13 too.

We already have TJ House and he won't hit arbitration the next 3 seasons like Milone does. And even if they got him, I'm sure that half the fans would have moaned that he's a soft tossing lefty, but the Indians simply did not have what the A's were looking at, a rental vet CF with speed.
Tondo
July 31, 2014 - 8:47 PM EDT
Homer,

I really think Walters becomes a Zobrist or nothing at all and keep in mind that Zobrist looked like nothing for lengths of time in his career. That's the kind of player I see in Walters without Zobrist's on base skills though, which is a big part of his game and value of course. Kelly Johnson is a good comp though, but he has more pop and a higher ceiling still.

Watching Chisenhall's two horrible ABs tonight vs a very hittable Young, I started thinking that the Indians might trade him in the offseason for SP help, probably thinking selling high on him and go with a Walters/Urshela platoon or competition at 3B. Part of me is intrigued by that thought, as I never fully bought into Chiz. He just has so many frustratingly horrible ABs time and again and while not a complete butcher, turned out to be a pretty disappointing defender at 3rd. If his numbers still look good at the end of the season, trading him could become a possibility, especially if the other guys step up.

Oh, and Tomlin is a much better option to start than McAllister right now. Mariners hit him hard all day long. Tomlin allows the usual HR per game, but misses bats in between, McAllister looked like a batting practice pitcher out there
Daingean
July 31, 2014 - 8:13 PM EDT
Just from what I've read (not having seen these prospects), I like the Masterson deal much better than the ACab deal. Ramsey's a higher rated prospect in a better system. Both are near ready. What has me stumped is why we are sending cash to Washington?
Homer
July 31, 2014 - 8:04 PM EDT
Just a thought...

As far as projections- I think Zach Walters could compare to Kelly Johnson. That's the type player I think he could become, that's definitely useful.
Homer
July 31, 2014 - 8:00 PM EDT
I'm not so sure it was the Tribes fault they didn't land Milone. The A's had Sam Fuld earlier in the season and lost him on DFA waivers. Today's trade for Lester (sending Cespedes to Boston) and the injury to Craig Gentry meant the A's needed another OF. Milone was buried after the deal and had demanded a trade, all leading to the two teams making a deal.

I would have offered ACab for Milone, but apparently, the A's weren't in on him, or something may have came together.
yourtribe
July 31, 2014 - 7:59 PM EDT
losing faith in mcallister.

you would think by now he would have learned another pitch besides a straight fastball that isn't that fast???
Rich Smith
July 31, 2014 - 7:53 PM EDT
I'm more upset that Masterson and Cabrera didn't perform in their contract ending years than with these trades. Had they just played normal then the indians would be in serious contention for wild card or division. Without a doubt the Indians got better return for Masterson than Cabrera, as they got a higher ranked prospect and didn't have to pay Masty's remaining salary, as apparently they are going to do with Cabby.

Instead of paying Aviles $3.5 million, Walters will probably take this role, offering a decent backup plan for Chisenhall and perhaps platooning with Ramirez at short instead of having to rush Lindor. It will be interesting to see how the Indians use the $20 million next year that they were paying to Masty and Cabby this year. Presumably with Ramirez, Walters. and Lindor they have shortstop covered for 2015 and beyond.
Maybe the Indians will trade for or sign a legitimate top of the rotation starter to pair with Kluber.

I agree with Larry in that the Indians should have been all over Millone, a consistent left-handed starter the Indians have lacked. The twins got him for virtually nothing! as they picked up Fuld off waivers earlier this year. Sometimes it is what you didn't do instead of what you do that deserves the most criticism. I guess getting a projected fourth outfielder and utility infielder was more important than getting a major-league proven consistent left-handed starter.
Seth
July 31, 2014 - 7:17 PM EDT
Worse on base skills than Aviles? Seriously, that's not possible.
larry
July 31, 2014 - 7:01 PM EDT
s much as the Tribe needs pitching I can't believe they could not offer the A's a better player than Fuld for Milone, and as for the Cabrera trade, if Walters is so good why isn't he the 2nd baseman for the Nats?
Homer
July 31, 2014 - 6:59 PM EDT
Walters is a guy I have liked for a cpl yrs. He switch hits,, but is better LH. I think he could end up at any of 3b, 2b, RF or LF long term. He's got good arm strength, but has lost some foot speed as he's matured (he's gained 25lbs). He's a guy I think could hit around .250 15-20hrs 25-30 dbls and 100+ K's.

Walters is not the same qlty of prospect that James Ramsey is, but he's a good prospect with a chance to be at least a useful UTL man with solid pop in his bat.

Interesting the Indians added two more bats to the system. It seems the Indians have a lot of depth in the IF and the OF. I suspect they'll utilize some of it for SP this offseason. They'll need do bring in another veteran arm to solidify the rotation. Klubers emergence has really been a God send, but he can't pitch every night.
shy
July 31, 2014 - 6:21 PM EDT
I don't know if the Indians targeted Zach Walters, I don't know if they targeted Yan Gomes or if they just rolled the dice on a gritty player and a position of need. First, third, and catcher- Gomes's positions were all positions of need. Shortstop is not at this point, but maybe they think the Walters bat has upside and he can also play left or right. Cabrera has a .270 lifetime and three years ago he was on Baseball Tonite WebGems more than anyone in the game. Whether or not that had to do with the substances his "mentor" Orlando Cabrera kept in his locker we'll never know. Physically, he is not the same player today he was then but he's a gamer, has playoff experience, and will help the Nationals in a stretch run. Zach Walters is a wild card. He could turn out to be a Mark Reynolds or a Casey Blake/Michael Cuddyer type, we really don't know. I think we got about as much as could be expected at this point for Asdrubal and I don't think it will hurt the Indians to finish the season w some combination of Aviles, Ramirez, Walters at short. It will actually help in that the uncertainty of Cabrera's future is no longer a distraction and the Indians can move forward. Tigers landing Price for Austin Jackson and Drew Smyly- yeah it's a big deal, but they can't match the A's. I think Price is easier to beat than Jon Lester, esp. if a playoff game is on the line. And Sam Fuld? Every World Champion has a Sam Fuld, and the A's wouldn't be able to resign Cespedes after next year anyway. He may be the best HomeRunDerby guy ever who never wins a World Series.
Bobby bobclarke
July 31, 2014 - 6:17 PM EDT
Sad but enevitable that Cabby is gone! He's had some real showcase moments in the past for the tribe. Strange we've traded for an infielder as Lindor & Kipnis will be the locks for the future. Thought pitching prospect would have suited more?
yourtribe
July 31, 2014 - 6:07 PM EDT
Based on who we traded these were good deals. Yes the 2 guys have flaws but still good prospects. I mean what did you expect for masty and cabby? Who thought Gomes and Brantley would prosper. Guys just need a chance.

Now keep the youth movement going into offseason. I want a young athletic team next year. Try to move if possible, swish Bourn Murphy and Raburn.

Lindor and one of our better young outfielders better b up next year.

And jury still out on kipnis and Lonnie.

Marc
July 31, 2014 - 6:05 PM EDT
A guy who strikes out a lot....struggles to get on base and is erratic on D? Sounds like he fits right in with this group
Tondo
July 31, 2014 - 5:44 PM EDT
CL,
with comp pick in return, I meant another team's tradeable comp pick, like the one the Astros got from the Marlins.

Speaking of, who is the GM in Houston? Horrible trade, even with the pick added to it. They traded away a 24yo controllable ML arm plus a ML ready MIF who has performed and a speedy OF performing in AAA for a couple of over-hyped prospects who have underwhelmed. Marlins easily won that trade in my opinion.
C L Who
July 31, 2014 - 5:26 PM EDT
Tondo, there wouldn't have been a comp pick because ACab would not have recieved the 15 MM QO from the Tribe.
This trade would seem to be the goodbye to Mike Aviles, since he and Walters play the same range of positions. I wonder if he will be traded in August.
As for the Tigers, they got Price for Smyly and gave up Jackson. Honestly, this year at least, Price is not that much of an upgrade and the Tigers are going to miss their speedy, good hitting CF.
Canadian Joe
July 31, 2014 - 5:14 PM EDT
Not a surprise on the return. Cabrera's value was like Masterson's. Both had a higher value last off season, and both were not performing this year. Could have had more for both last February. Walters and Ramsey were both players blocked at the ML level. Maybe both will show more if given a chance. We can only hope.
Richard
July 31, 2014 - 5:14 PM EDT
The one bright side might be that Tito seems to be able to get the most out of part-time mix and match players like Walters.
Andrew
July 31, 2014 - 5:12 PM EDT
Roger... The Indians are paying the rest of Cabby's salary this year.
hawk122
July 31, 2014 - 5:12 PM EDT
I always liked Cabrera As a young rookie I remember him following VMart and asking him questions on pitchers at every at bat I do believe he is a better second basemen than SS But I also knew Cabrera was going to be moved today Could not offer him QO and have him accept and could not afford not to offer QO and lose him without any return I know Indians see value in players where others don't so I guess time will tell
Aaron
July 31, 2014 - 5:07 PM EDT
@Roger

No payroll relief here Roger. Indians are paying the rest of Cabrera's salary
Roger
July 31, 2014 - 4:58 PM EDT
as a seperate and aside this allows the indians to retire omar's number as he deserves to have happened. I am certion that ozzie smith's number has been retired in st louis. As for 2014 Walters might help he does have pop and maybe he can do what cabrera would have done over the last couple months of 2014. When you look at his lack of playing time consider that the nationals have zimmerman at 3b ian desmond at ss and renden at 2b. so he was locked in the minors cause he wasnt gonna crack that lineup, however with zimmerman hurt and renden playing 3b this tells me that 2b isnt walters position. and he is much larger than most middle infielders. Astrubel was in no win situation with visquel in the past and lindor in the future every little thing he did wrong was magnified.
and i doubt they were burning up the phones trying to trade for him. This saves 4 million dollars of salary. so essentually the moving of masty and strubel saves the tribe 8 milion in payroll this year. as for him being handsome mike clone i kinda doubt many players are as versitile as aviles. all we can do is watch him and see. I never bought into the lindor wasnt gonna be brought up this year no way anyway. Whether cabrera was there or not lindor was gonna be in cleveland labor day.
matt underwood
July 31, 2014 - 4:50 PM EDT
just do disheartening to see the tribe sellers and the tigers land price. the gap gets bigger. seems the tigers always have the ammo to get "their guy" - of course when you draft well, you can do those things. something the indians cannot do. nor can they spend their money wisely - which is and has been a recipe for a disaster.

why are the indians wasting money on analysis as to why fans do not show up? it is pretty obvious when your competition runs circles around you in every aspect.

ive come to the conclusion dolans will spend money but the idiots tell them on whom to spend that money have go to go. so over mark shaprio era.
Brian M
July 31, 2014 - 4:48 PM EDT
"The upside to Walters is pretty much Mike Aviles but with much more pop and worse on-base skills"

A worse OBP than Aviles? Is that possible?

I'm not upset with the trade. By June of last year, we knew ACab's trade value was had dwindled from where it was at during the 2013 winter meetings. We probably could not have net more for him even if we dealt him during this last offseason.

The positive in this is at least Ramirez and/or Lindor will see some PT in Cleveland.
Tondo
July 31, 2014 - 4:48 PM EDT
Short answer: YES

Why? Because ACab playing SS the next two months instead of Aviles/JRam would have meant about 0.2 more wins, and that's being very genorous, as I actually think it will be a wash even with some upside possible from JRam.

Would have preferred a comp pick but this is a solid get either way you look at it.

That said, Walters is a boom or bust guy. His power will translate and Antonetti has made a Gomes redux trade or he will whiff his way into AAAA, so what. 50 more games of ACab would not have made any difference anyway this season. I can't come up with a good argument how anyone could say it was not worth it. Hater's gonna hate I guess...
SuperJoe
July 31, 2014 - 4:39 PM EDT
i guess i'm just more of an optimist......he's got a ton of pop, and he really isnt all that old is he? Ramsey is 25 and in AA......Walters is 24 and spending his third year in AAA.....is that a bad thing? The reports I've read praise his work ethic and attitude. To think that you cant develop plate discipline at age 24 (or older) is a bit naive. I'll take this deal all day long and I love the upside......mad pop in his bat and maybe he can develop that discipline.

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