ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Two-time All-Star shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera will get a chance to replace a likely Hall of Fame player in Texas by shifting to the corner on the left side of the infield.
Cabrera finalized a $3.5 million, one-year contract with the Rangers on Thursday to take over at third base for Adrian Beltre, who announced his retirement in November after 3,166 hits in 21 big league seasons, the last eight in Texas.
“Less time there than up the middle, but has obviously a lot of experience on the left side of the infield as far as seeing the ball, the angle,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. “Has really good hands, really strong arm … plenty strong enough arm to play there.”
The deal became official after the 33-year-old switch-hitting free agent successfully completed a physical. He can earn $100,000 in performance bonuses for plate appearances: $50,000 each for 500 and 550.
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Cabrera played 90 games at second base for the New York Mets last season before he was traded to Philadelphia, where he played shortstop and third base.
In his 12 big league seasons, Cabrera has started 1,426 games. Only 52 of those have been at third base, 12 for the Phillies last season after 40 in New York in 2017. He has started 1,054 games as a shortstop, 320 at second base and another 21 as a designated hitter.
“We’re thinking he’ll be a solid third baseman and give us some flexibility to either spell guys at other spots, or at least give (new manager Chris Woodward) some versatility,” Daniels said.
Cabrera is a .269 career hitter with Cleveland, Washington, Tampa Bay, the Mets and Phillies. In 147 games overall last season, he hit .262 with 23 homers and 75 RBIs. The only time he had more was 2011, his first All-Star season with the Indians, when he had career highs of 25 homers and 92 RBIs.
“Especially offensively, hasn’t lost anything,” Daniels said. “He’s got power on both sides, got a good eye.”
Being a switch-hitter also fit the Rangers offensively after they traded Jurickson Profar, their switch-hitter who had been the leading candidate to replace Beltre before getting dealt to Oakland last month.
Third baseman Patrick Wisdom, who made his major league debut with 32 games for St. Louis Cardinals last season, was acquired in a trade during the winter meetings. Daniels said Wisdom still has an opportunity to make the club in spring training with his ability to play third base, first base and potentially other spots.
Infielder Jack Reinheimer was designated for assignment to make room for Cabrera on the Rangers roster.
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