Infielder Asdrubal Cabrera was released by the Rangers on Saturday and now he’s found a new home — that’s also an old one. Cabrera has been signed by the Nationals, reports Jon Heyman of MLB Network. Heyman also reports the Braves have signed first baseman Lucas Duda, who was recently released by the Royals.
Cabrera, 33, is clearly past his prime. He’s slashing .235/.318/.393 (81 OPS+) with 15 doubles and 12 homers this season. He’s only spent time at third base this year, but he has experience at second base. He has also previously played shortstop, but he has no business being there at this point in his career.
Cabrera spent the latter part of 2014 with the Nationals, so there’s familiarity for him in Washington. The Nationals’ current infield of Matt Adams, Brian Dozier, Trea Turner and Anthony Rendon will remain that way, save for some spot starts for Cabrera, who is otherwise simply depth, as previously noted.
The Nationals are currently tied with the Phillies for the second NL wild card spot. There are four other teams within three games, so this is going to be a crazy final two months.
On the Braves’ end, Duda is a depth piece and will start in the minors. He hit just .171/.252/.324 (52 OPS+) with four homers in 119 plate appearances for the Royals in 2019. Duda, who was also with the Braves at the end of the 2018 campaign, hit 30 homers in 2017 and was highly productive for the Mets in 2014-15. This is generally the type of move made just in case something like a serious Freddie Freeman injury happens.