So Everth Cabrera Is Available Now

There weren’t really a ton of interesting names to hit free agency after the non-tender deadline earlier this week, and that makes sense. After all, players interesting enough to want to investigate don’t usually get non-tendered. One exception, at least judging by the fact that people are asking about him, is former San Diego shortstop Everth Cabrera. He’s a shortstop. The Dodgers need a shortstop. Should he be their shortstop? Shortstops.

The good:

  • Only 28 years old
  • Put up 3.1 WAR in only 95 games in 2013
  • Has been at times an elite base stealer, grabbing 44 bags in 48 tries in 2012
  • Had a .283/.355/.381 (114 wRC+) in 2013
  • Can play a capable — not elite, probably average or slightly below — shortstop
  • Dodgers exec Josh Byrnes, Cabrera’s GM in San Diego, has personal experience with him

The bad:

  • Suspended for 50 games in 2012 as part of the Biogenesis scandal, reportedly for taking a substance intended to help a 2011 separated shoulder heal
  • Arrested in 2012 on suspicion of domestic violence, though the case was later dismissed
  • Arrested in September for driving under the influence, reportedly marijuana (he’ll be arraigned next week)
  • Had a .232/.272/.300 (65 wRC+) in 2014, twice missing time with left hamstring injuries
  • Has only twice played in more than 95 games since his 2009 debut
  • Non-tendered by a bad team that apparently plans to go with Alexi Amarista and Clint Barmes at shortstop

He’s young, can run, field his position, and has at least one good (partial) offensive season. That’s not a star, but if you’re expecting a star off the non-tender pile, you’re doing it wrong. Obviously, the biggest red flags here are his repeated off-field issues. I’ve never desired a roster that has 25 choir boys on it — talent matters, clearly — but domestic violence is a big no-no for me (this one is hard to judge, because while “innocent until proven guilty” is still a thing, that the case didn’t proceed doesn’t mean it didn’t happen) and so if all of that is enough of a turn-off that you don’t ever want to see him as a Dodger, I wouldn’t argue that in the least.

And yet: The Dodgers need a shortstop. Alexei Ramirez seems like a fit, but with the White Sox signing Zach Duke and Adam LaRoche, they appear to be signaling that they intend to compete in 2015. Stephen Drew and Jed Lowrie just aren’t that appealing. It’s difficult to think that Miguel Rojas or Erisbel Arruebarrena are really going to be given the chance to start, and harder still to see Corey Seager being rushed up for April. I still believe that the 2015 Opening Day shortstop comes from outside the organization; I suppose at the moment, I’d bet on that being Jimmy Rollins, figuring that he’ll accept it’s time to go once the Phillies deal Cole Hamels and initiate a real rebuild. (Whether that’s after Hamels goes to Boston or Rollins agreeing to come with Hamels to Los Angeles is open for interpretation.)

You could say, “sure, toss him a non-roster invite,” but that doesn’t get you the player. Literally every team should be giving out no-risk non-roster invites to anyone vaguely interesting. If you really want him, then it’ll be a big league contract.

So, friends: Do you want him?

About Mike Petriello

Mike Petriello
Mike writes about lots of baseball in lots of places, and right now that place is MLB.com.