When Mike Rizzo traded for Asdrubal Cabrera in 2014 for the stretch run, he had little impact on that team, and those who believe “the second time is the charm” were right. This time around, Cabera has been a star for this team. The national media so far have missed the ball on Cabrera given how much they talked about Yoenis Cespedes back in 2015 when the Mets acquired him. Cespedes batted a healthy . .287 with a .942 OPS after the Mets acquired him in 2015, but Asdrubal Cabrera is batting a healthier .322 and a .972 OPS with the Nats this season. Droobs also has 39 RBIs in just 37 games which has given him 90 for the season so far. While Cabrera is not getting any accolades nationally, he seems fine in his role where he is flying below the radar and has played every infield position except shortstop and has also come off the bench as a pinch-hitter.
“You know what? I trust this team a lot,” Cabrera said. “We’ve been playing really good all year so this doesn’t surprise me. We’ve got the team to do what we’re doing right now. I’m really thankful to the organization for giving me the opportunity to be here, and to do my job, and Davey to trust me.”
One of the best parts of the Cabrera acquisition is that he cost the Nats virtually nothing. He was picked off of the scrap heap after he was a DFA from the Texas Rangers and could choose any team that wanted him. The Mets came calling and he chose the Nats because the Mets did not keep him last year. He was with the Mets from 2016-2018 where he was coincidentally Cespedes’ teammate but also his hitting coach to start his tenure with the Mets was Kevin Long who got him to his highest OPS in that point in his career (.810) in his age-30 season, and now of course this duo has far surpassed that. Also keep in mind that when the Mets traded for Cespedes in 2015, they had to give up future ROY and All-Star Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa plus pay Cespedes salary. In the Nats case, the Rangers are paying the remainder of Cabrera’s contract less the league minimum prorated.
“We knew just watching Asdrubal over the years [that he would fit],” manager Dave Martinez said. “I mean, he was not having a terrible year [with Texas]. He was still hitting his home runs and driving in runs, and when he became available, it was a conversation with [Mike Rizzo] that he would he a good piece to have and he fits, and we talked to him a little bit about playing first base as well, which he was all up for, and we ended up getting him. And he’s been unbelievable since he’s been here, not only on the field, but off the field as well, just fits in perfectly with our chemistry.”
With Cabrera, he has picked up much of the production from Juan Soto who has been scuffling for over three weeks now. Since September 4th, he is batting only .162, and he is being challenged by opposing pitchers with fastballs that he is swinging through, and that is something we are not accustomed to seeing. Yesterday, we saw Gerardo Parra have a breakout game, and the Nats hopefully will see that with Soto and Anthony Rendon who are the players who can carry this team along with Trea Turner, Adam Eaton, Cabrera, and Howie Kendrick.
Today, the Nationals enter with a Magic # of 1 to win and secure Home Field Advantage for the Wild Card game. The Nats have decided to stay with Patrick Corbin as the starter, but Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio said that Corbin will only throw a few innings so he would be available if needed for the Wild Card game.
The Nats eliminated the Indians from the postseason last night, and they will stick with the righty Adam Plutko as their starter. He has a 4.25 ERA and has struggled on the road with a 4.60 ERA. Lefties hit Plutko better than righties this season. He throws mostly a 91.5 mph fastball and his main breaking pitch is the slider. He will mix in the occasional curveball and changeup.
We also wanted to give a shout-out to Ryan Zimmerman who is celebrating a birthday today.
Cleveland Indians at Washington Nationals
Stadium: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch: 4:05 pm EDT
TV: MASN2, SportsTime Ohio, MLB.TV
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® ( Streaming Internet 869)
Line-up subject to change (without notice):